Project Information

Kurt Lewin Instituut
Heidelberglaan 1
Room Number H1.42
The Netherlands
T: +31 (0)30 - 253 3027

Project Information

Project Title
"Understanding and encouraging the development of female empowerment through access to microfinance services"

University of Groningen - Social Psychology

PhD Student
Marloes Huis

Dr. Nina Hansen (University of Groningen)
Prof.dr. Sabine Otten (University of Groningen)
Prof.dr. Robert Lensink (University of Groningen)

16 September 2014 - 16 September 2017

University of Groningen


Microfinance services in developing countries aim to increase female emancipation. However, studies reveal mixed effects of access to microfinance services on economic empowerment (e.g., women’s power over household expenditures) while increased intimate partner violence is reported. Previous research suggests that men may feel excluded from these programs and worry that women may spent less time on household chores. We aim to systematically investigate how access to microfinance services (micro loan and training) can stimulate female empowerment. We will study the process through which empowerment may develop by investigating the dynamics within couples (e.g., friction)  and differentiating between psychological (e.g., self-efficacy) and economic effects (e.g., intra-household decision making). Psychological empowerment is a first step towards female empowerment. Based on social psychological theorizing we plan to invite female borrowers and their spouses to participate together in a microfinance intervention and develop new training-components (based on shared goals and responsibilities, and multiple bases of power such as obligations and ideologies) to decrease intimate partner violence and encourage female empowerment. We will use quantitative and qualitative research methods. Focus group discussions, small field experiments, and a large-scale intervention study will be conducted in Sri Lanka to examine the impact of the developed theory-driven training-components.

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