The factors influencing success of micro-credit funds in the economic empowerment of rural women, Firoozkooh County

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Professor, Geography and Rural Planning, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

2 PhD Candidate in Geography and Urban Planning, University Kharazmi, Tehran, Iran


Half of the rural population is women who have multipurpose and vital role in sustainability of rural households. Rural women play vital role in many cases related to development such as providing food security, environment sustainability, poverty eradication, population control and social development. They have been clear for international society. Upbringing of children in a family environment is the responsibility of women. On the other hand, the economics and management of the home as a place of relaxation and comfort for family members are other responsibility of the rural women. Also, they have extensive capabilities for economic cooperation in agriculture. As a result, they should be entered in income generation and economic participation.
Microcredit is a financial innovation that makes women economically independent by putting capital and financial resources in their hands. Economic independence results in higher bargaining power for women in their households and communities, and subsequently results in higher prestige and self-esteem. Microfinance has been seen as contributing not only to poverty reduction and financial sustainability, but also to a series of ‘virtuous spirals’ of economic empowerment, increased well-being and social and political empowerment for women themselves. World Bank believes that the micro-credit objectives are poverty reduction, empowerment of disadvantaged groups especially women, development of existing production units, encouragement for creation of new units, creation of employment opportunities through self-employment, increase in efficiency income vulnerable groups, reduction of dependency of rural poor on products  heavily influenced by the geographical conditions especially drought and diversification of the products. Therefore, microfinance is a strategy for development which its goal is to access credit resources by women and low-income people so that they can improve their socio-economic status. Granting sustainable financial services for rural women and improving their situation in the family and society are necessary. The main purpose of this study is to identify influencing factors on success of microfinance funds in economic empowerment of rural women. This research wants to
-       Describe the demographic characteristics of rural women micro-credit fund in Firoozkooh County
-       Address success level of microfinance funds in economic empowerment of rural women in Firoozkooh County
-       Examine socio-cultural, economic, psychological, and educational factors for success of microfinance funds
-       Anticipate the changes in success of microfinance funds in economic empowerment of rural women based on independent variables
This study is quantitative research with in philosophy point of view, an applied study in terms of goal, and casual-correlation in terms of method. Statistical population of the present study is all the rural women who are member in microfinance funds in Firoozkooh County (N=101). This County includes 3 microfinance funds which are located in Shadmahan (26 member), Ahnaz (34 member) and Lazuz (41 member). In this study, census method is used to gather data and finally 101 questionnaires has been analyzed (n=101). Dependent variable is success of microfinance funds in economic empowerment of rural women and independent variables are personal characteristics of rural women (age, marital status, size of household, education level, background in fund, the amount invested in the fund, number of loans, and the fields the loans used), support, socio-cultural, economic, psychological, and educational factors. To determine the validity of questionnaire, several copies of that questionnaire were filled by a group of experts and some necessary modifications were done based on the expert suggestions. To determine the reliability coefficient, pilot test was done; in this test 30 questionnaires were distributed among rural women. After gathering the questionnaire, the data were analyzed in software. The variables of reliability gained by Alpha Cronbach were ranged 0.85 to 0.91. The statistical method in the present study was descriptive statistics (mean, standard deviation, coefficient of variation, minimum, maximum, frequency, and frequency percentage) and for the analysis of the data, spearman correlation and multiple regression analysis were used.
Results and Discussion
According to the results, the mean age of the respondents is 45 years and the mean duration of their membership in funds is 6 years. Also, the majority of respondent education level is elementary. The mean household size was estimated 5 people and the majority of rural women (8.22%) received a loan to use in ranching. The spearmen correlation test shows that there is negative and significant relationship among rural women age and household size with success of microfinance funds in economic empowerment of rural women. Also, there is positive and significant relationship among education level, support, economic and education factors with success of microfinance funds in economic empowerment of rural women. The results of multiple regression analysis indicate that economic and education factors explain 39% of changes in success of microfinance funds in economic empowerment of rural women. 
Since the economic factor is the first step of success of microfinance funds in economic empowerment of rural women; it can be recommended that;
-       Cash together with long-term installments should be increased. Because starting a business via the negligible loans and on the other hand existence of inflation and economic crisis is not possible. Therefore, loans with small fees are not effective for economic empowerment of rural women.
-       Identifying donors and help them to invest for success of funds in granting loans to members with higher fees. 
Since the education factor is the second step of success of microfinance funds in economic empowerment of rural women, these can be recommended;
-       Holding briefing sessions by experts on the way to get a loan, the repayment, interest rates and increasing awareness of members.
-       Since in many cases the loan may be wasted due to lack of knowledge of how to use, therefore, it is recommended that economic experts provide entrepreneurship courses and workshops on how to use the loan in different fields.
-       Visiting rural women together with experts and authorities from successful funds in other counties and provinces. Because this kind of programs can make motivation for rural women.


Main Subjects

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