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Regulating motherhood through markets: Filipino women’s engagement with microcredit

Parmanand, Sharmila ORCID: 0000-0003-2461-7470 (2021) Regulating motherhood through markets: Filipino women’s engagement with microcredit. Feminist Review, 129 (1). pp. 32-47. ISSN 0141-7789

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Identification Number: 10.1177/01417789211040506


The Philippines is a global leader in deploying microcredit to address poverty. These programmes are usually directed at women. Research on these programmes focuses on traditional economic indicators such as loan repayment rates but neglects impacts on women’s agency and well-being, or their position in the household and relationships with their partners and children. It is taken for granted that access to microcredit leads to enhanced gender freedoms. In line with the growing body of work in feminist scholarship that critiques the instrumentalist logic of microfinance institutions (MFIs) in relation to women, this research foregrounds stories from interviews with female borrowers in Zamboanga City in Southern Philippines to provide grounded illustrations of how microcredit is reshaping relationships between women and their families, women and poverty and women and the state. Borrowers used loans to meet their family’s needs even at the cost of harassment from creditors, indebtedness, increased workloads and conflict with partners. These narratives challenge the dominant neoliberal discourse of female empowerment through access to credit by exposing how microcredit is part of a complex set of regulations around ‘good motherhood’ and consumption, where women’s moral worth is based on their willingness and ability to lift their families out of poverty.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2021 The Author
Divisions: Gender Studies
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
JEL classification: D - Microeconomics > D6 - Welfare Economics > D60 - General
I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I3 - Welfare and Poverty > I31 - General Welfare; Basic Needs; Living Standards; Quality of Life; Happiness
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2024 16:15
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 04:20

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