Women’s Empowerment​ and Microfinance in the Asia Pacific (WEMAP)

The WEMAP workshop was held in November 2017 at Monash University to explore microfinance from the perspectives of anthropology, economy and critical development studies, to advance understandings about the agency of groups engaged in microfinance activities and how it may or may not result in various dimensions of empowerment.

The ultimate aim was to engage academic and practitioner communities in policy-relevant debate about the efficacy of microfinance programs to achieve poverty alleviation and women’s multi-dimensional empowerment. Given the current pervasiveness of the ‘financial inclusion’ discourse in development, the workshop discussed the success and failure of microfinance programs to achieve women’s empowerment, and, how development agencies and academics can work together to influence contextually appropriate microfinance programs. 
The particular focus was on microfinance in South East Asia and the Pacific, to date underexplored in the vast literature on microfinance. Here are some of the results of those deliberations.

Conveners: Martha Macintyre, Sara Niner and Michelle Dyer

The workshop was organized and hosted by Monash University with funding from the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia (ASSA), the Oxfam-Monash Partnership, and the Research Development Impact (RDI) Network.


  • 2017 Women’s empowerment and microfinance:  key challenges, lessons and a way forward Development Policy Blog  View Article
  • RDI Reported on the workshop here
  • Full Program with participant abstracts here WEMAP Workshop Program Booklet


Watch the public seminar that accompanied the Workshop: