Thanks to Trent Hamm from The Simple Dollar for including this remarkable video in his post Ten Pieces of Inspiration.
I have worked in finance and accounting for 25 years, so I must say I was disappointed I had not heard of microfinance loans prior to viewing this video. According to Kiva:
Microfinance is a general term to describe financial services to low-income individuals or to those who do not have access to typical banking services.Ah they are loans for low-income individuals. No wonder I had never heard of them. Gayle points out when people see the word “microfinance” women must often come to mine. If you see the word “entrepreneur” most people think men.
Microfinance is also the idea that low-income individuals are capable of lifting themselves out of poverty if given access to financial services. While some studies indicate that microfinance can play a role in the battle against poverty, it is also recognized that is not always the appropriate method, and that it should never be seen as the only tool for ending poverty.
Another example of women entrepreneurs supporting the family can be found in Barbara Demick's book Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea. During North Korea's famine in the 1990's, it was the women who supported the families. They foraged the countryside searching for ways to engage in (illegal) small business: trade, subsistence farming, and selling handicrafts. The men were required to continue to reporting to their official place of work despite the fact that the factories were no longer functioning or providing food vouchers. One of the women mentioned in the book perfected an inexpensive cookie which she sold each at an outdoor market. These markets were illegal, but without them the people would have starved.
It is time for all of us to think bigger
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon