How Does Savings for Life Impact Household Gender Dynamics?

Mar 31, 2018 | by Emily Mugisha and Courtney O’Connell

Research within the savings sector to date has produced mixed results on the impact of VSLA on women’s empowerment. This study examines if the more holistic approach to poverty alleviation through the Savings For Life (SFL) and Church Empowerment Zone models can positively contribute to women’s empowerment.

The study identified the following findings:

  • Participants report that SFL contributes to improvement in marriages by reducing conflict over financial stress as well as helping to begin to change a husband’s once negative view of his wife.
  • Women’s statements suggests that, because of SFL, they have an increased role in financial decision making, due both to the money their businesses earn and because of the financial management skills they learn through their savings group. A female SFL member may start a business activity even if her husband refuses to support her if she feels strongly that it is for the well-being of the family.
  • Women whose husbands have drinking problems tend to have tighter management over their money.
  • Women who describe themselves as empowered through SFL connect this to the positive changes in their financial situation.

Through SFL, women can take care of their own needs, better fulfill their household duties, and therefore feel more useful, valuable, and respected, no longer having to "nag" their husband for things.

Categories: Microfinance Financial Inclusion Financial Security Women and Girls Women's Economic Empowerment Women's Economic Empowerment Resource Library English