Half the Sky

Microfinance is a source of financial services, such as loans and savings, available to entrepreneurs and small business owners who wouldn’t normally qualify for those services. Microfinance loans are typically small sums that, despite their small size, can give the recipient significant opportunity for sustained financial growth. The book argues microfinance is, for women, a more effective route out of poverty and toward personal safety than any law could accomplish. Kiva is a popular microlending nonprofit organization that allows individuals to make small loans to entrepreneurs in need. When successful, such loans are a way for Westerners to give real aid remotely.

Microfinance Quotes in Half the Sky

The Half the Sky quotes below are all either spoken by Microfinance or refer to Microfinance. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Oppression of Women  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of Half the Sky published in 2010.
Chapter 11 Quotes

It is not uncommon to stumble across a mother mourning a child who has just died of malaria for want of a $5 mosquito bed net and then find the child's father at a bar, where he spends $5 each week. Several studies suggest that when women gain control over spending, less family money is devoted to instant gratification and more for education and starting small businesses. Because men now typically control the purse strings, it appears that the poorest families in the world typically spend approximately ten times as much (20 percent of their income on average) on a combination of alcohol, prostitutes, candy, sugary drinks, and lavish feasts as they do on educating their children.

Related Characters: Nicholas D. Kristof (speaker), Sheryl WuDunn (speaker)
Page Number: 192
Explanation and Analysis:
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Microfinance Term Timeline in Half the Sky

The timeline below shows where the term Microfinance appears in Half the Sky. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Introduction
The Oppression of Women  Theme Icon
Solutions to Address the Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...and mass rape), and maternal mortality. They also reference solutions such as girls’ education and microfinance. They mention that wealthy countries also need to address serious domestic gender inequities. Further, while... (full context)
Chapter 7
The Oppression of Women  Theme Icon
The Complexity of Aid Theme Icon
Solutions to Address the Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...and doctors (caused partly by emigration of African doctors). Fourth, disregard for women contributes to maternal mortality —“As late as I920, America had a maternal mortality rate equivalent to poor parts in... (full context)
Chapter 11
The Oppression of Women  Theme Icon
Universal Benefits of Women’s Empowerment  Theme Icon
Solutions to Address the Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...her life’s lowest point, she joined a women’s group affiliated with the Kashf Foundation, a microfinance organization. She borrowed $65 to buy beads and cloth, the authors write, and soon started... (full context)
Universal Benefits of Women’s Empowerment  Theme Icon
Solutions to Address the Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...in the microcredit revolution sweeping the developing world,” Kristof and WuDunn write. They claim that microfinance has empowered and protected women far more than any law could. Like most microfinance programs,... (full context)
The Complexity of Aid Theme Icon
Solutions to Address the Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...enormous success of Kashf and similar organizations hasn’t been universal, the authors stress. In Africa, microfinance has been less successful than in Asia—malaria and AIDS, dispersed populations, and other factors contribute... (full context)
Chapter 14
Universal Benefits of Women’s Empowerment  Theme Icon
Solutions to Address the Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Further, the authors stress that the movement must include a range of causes, namely “ maternal mortality , human trafficking, sexual violence, and the routine daily discrimination that causes girls to die... (full context)