Empowering Women through Micro Finance: Empirical Evidence from Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria

By Okunlola, Funso Abiodun; Babajide, Abiola et al. | Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal, January 2020 | Go to article overview

Empowering Women through Micro Finance: Empirical Evidence from Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria


Okunlola, Funso Abiodun, Babajide, Abiola, Isibor, Areghan, Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal


INTRODUCTION

Women have been the subject of poverty in most developing economies, especially that of Africa. This misnomer, though, globally entrenched, is prevalent within the Africa settings owing to traditional fundamentals. Traditionally, there are limits to which she can own, acquire or even aspire. In order words, they (women) are often subjected to discriminations economically, socially and financially thereby preventing them access to basic life aspirations. And like in the case of feminist movement in Europe around 18th century, and that of the United Nations human rights charter in 1948, where the rights of women were proclaimed; African countries and indeed Nigeria had formulated policies at alleviating poverty and empowering women (Babajide, 2011a, b, Awojobi, 2014; Okemakinde, 2014; Ovute et al., 2015; Ayevbuomwan et al., 2016; Ozoya et al., 2017; Oshinoowo & Olayide, 2017; Ali & Zakuan 2018). A quick glimpse at this, traced poverty alleviation and women empowerment programmes in Nigeria to the establishment of Peoples Bank and Community Bank between 1985 to 1993 and; the Directorate of Food Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DFRI) in the same period by Babangida led administration. Other programmes aiming to empower women are; the Family Economic Advancement Programme (FEAP) of 1993; Better Life for Rural Women, Poverty Alleviation Programme (PAP), Family Support Programme (FSP), National Women Commission (NWC) among others (Ozoya et al., 2017; Okunlola et al., 2015; Taiwo et al., 2014). Most of these programmes have presence in virtually all the states of the Federation. Specifically, these programmes are aimed at empowering the lots of women through access to finance and reducing poverty for the ultimate goal of economic growth. Little wonder a proverbial thought says: empower the girl child (woman), and the whole nation is empowered. Ironically, while there are conflicting stance on what constitute women empowerment (WE), the United Nations (2001, 2018) identified the ingredient of freedom to choose, access to resources, ability to control one's own destiny, dignity and ability to invent one's own social and economic order, as women empowerment. If we roll with this assumption, how then has the women fed in terms of access to the aforementioned characteristics through the establishment of specialized institutions like Micro Finance Banks (MFB's) in the country? In a report by Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access [EFInA], (2018) and corroborated by Ananwude et al. (2018), observed that out of the over 99 million adults in Nigeria, 44.9 percent are women and 50.1 percent are male. Out of this group, 63.3 percent lives in the rural areas while, 20.4 percent have no formal education. To say the least, the rate of women access to finance is 9.1 percent to former other bank [like Micro Finance Bank], 16.7 percent to informal bank and 40.9 percent financially excluded against; 8.9 percent, 12.5 percent and 32.5 percent in male respectively (EFInA, 2018). Similarly, about 63.3 percent of women live in rural areas of the country (EFInA, 2018). The implication is that women are more in tuned to using specialized institutional finance than men yet; suffers the most unbanked records. In Oyo state particularly, record shows that it is the only state with the highest access to Micro finance in South West states to the tune of 5.9 percent, highest in the use of informal sector up to 24 percent and also records the second highest financially excluded state after Ondo to the tune of 22.8 percent. This is a reawakening call for the state especially in Ibadan, the state capital; where most of the micro finance banks are located. A glimpse at this record analysis calls for revalidation of probable causation of the record dichotomy. In essence, the study re-examines the perceived insinuations of the economical and socially vulnerabilities of women empowerment through microfinance in Ibadan, Oyo state, Nigeria (Appendix I & II). …

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