Microcredit and Third World Women: Panacea for Poverty or Delusional Development?
February 13, 2014 - 4:00pm - 5:00pm
4500 Posvar Hall
Lecture by Uma Narayan (Vassar), "Microcredit and Third World Women: Panacea for Poverty or Delusional Development?"
Micro-credit (small loans to start small enterprises in the informal sector) has been praised in many quarters as a panacea for the poverty and patriarchy that poor women in Third World countries confront. Securing poor women access to credit, for enterprises in the small-scale agricultural sector and the urban informal sector is at the center of a significant chunk of "women and development" agendas today. The circle of current friends of microcredit for informal enterprises includes international and national financial institutions, Western and Third World nation states, international and national NGO’s, the UN, and a variety of academics and intellectuals. They all contribute to the widespread “positive perception” of microcredit and informal sector work as arenas for Third World women’s empowerment. I will present a picture of microcredit and informal sector work that is more sobering, and admittedly bleaker than what seems to be the dominant picture at present.
Uma Narayan is Professor of Philosophy and Andrew W, Mellon Chair of the Humanities at Vassar College. She received her B.A. from Bombay University and her M.A. from
Poona University, India and her Ph.D from Rutgers University. She is the author of Dislocating Cultures: Identities, Traditions and Third World Feminism and the co-editor
of Reconstructing Political Theory: Feminist Perspectives, Having and Raising Children:Unconventional Families, Hard Choices and the Social Good, and Decentering the Center:
Multicultural and Postcolonial Feminist Challenges to Philosophy. Her current work focuseson the economic and political implications of globalization, and crictically addresses issues
ranging from microcredit to water privatization and Western development aid.
Co-sponors of Prof. Narayan's vist: CERIS, GSPIA, Dept. of Political Science, Humanities Center.
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