Unexpected Effects of Only Women Loans by Microcredit

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Case: Unexpected consequences of microcredit loans of the Grameen bank

Since 1980 is the Grameen Bank an example of an successful social enterprise. For many people its success proved that a social enterprise could make a heathty profit without subsidies and that the concept of a social enterprise could be a social and financial success. Muhammed Yunus the owner of the Grameen Bank (GB) is the inventor of microcredit loans. Microcredits are very popular in Asian countries and the GB  has the biggest market share in the Bangladesh (Muhammed Yunus 2005: 1). Yunus argues that microcredit is the new solution to poverty, because it`s stimulates the economics of the poorest societies without making people dependent of gifts or hurting their ego.  Even the poorest people can get a loan because microcredit doesn't need material capital. Everybody can achieve their goals independently, with their own blood sweat and tears (Ibid.: 2). What he says is true, but what many people dont know is that there is a dark side to micro credits as well, because the loans had unexpected consequences in societies. The concept sounds simple enough; the Grameen Bank (GB) gives mini loans to the poorest people in the most deserted places. These loans are meant for building houses or small companies that could improve as well the community by raising buying power as well increase the living standard of the loaning family. This is possible because the GB doesn't uses capital to reimburse its loan and investment, but social pressure. A loan is given to a group of women and they are together responsible to paying the monthly repayments, with their reputation within the group and community as collateral (Aminur Rahman 2007: 67). That means that their honor, social status and health depend on paying the monthly repayments. And there lays the first crux. Honor is very important in the Bangladeshi society. There is an immense pressure to fulfill your part of the repayments because of the group responsibility. This has four major consequences; If you don't pay your part of the repayments, others have to pick up what you're lacking, so your failure puts pressure on the others. Second, if you cannot pay your share, it could lead to social exclusion. In a society that's mainly build on social network and the redistribution of wealth through this network, that could be the death sentence for not only you, but for your whole family including your not direct next of kin. Also, if you don't want your family to be excluded for all social life, it could lead to (forced) suicide of the loaner. So the social honor debt is paid. And last, the pressure to pay the bills, drives people to acquire more loans. Those loans have monthly premiums as well which pressure the financial state of the household even more (Sajeda Amin, Ashok S. Rai & Giorio Topa 2001: 3). Amin et al. call this phenomena ‘consumption smoothing’. The stress of the social pressure to pay your contribution to (multiple) loans often leads to violence within marriages (Rahman 2007: 75). Another reason for violence within the marriage is the fact that the social status and role of the woman contradicts the role the GB forces her into. You probably think, forces? How can a bank force a women in a certain role? Because the GB encountered in earlier years that women pay their monthly repayments better than men, they changed their policy into only women loaners. It looked really good on paper; women will care for the money and this will enhance their social-economical standing in the society. And because the will loan in groups they will develop some sort of solidarity or consciousness of being not alone. The GB has other reasons as well for wanting to invest more in women than in men. The GB thinks that women will invest more in the basic necessities of the families and take less risks with the money than men. Women are more aware of their responsibility again their family and society and that makes them...
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