Microfinance and Women's Self-perception
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This thesis focuses on women and development. Microfinance is a tool that has been used to bring people out of poverty, but also as a tool used to empower women, and through this improve women’s self-perception. Studies done on women and empowerment claim that microfinance has an empowering effect on women involved. I am interested in what the relationship between women’s participation in microfinance programs and their self-perception is. To find an answer to this research problem, I have chosen to do an empirical study that focuses on the women’s own views on this relationship. My interest lies in the women’s own thoughts and feelings, and how, and whether, they feel microfinance has affected how they see themselves and feel about themselves. To study this, I have done a field study in Ganja, Azerbaijan, and interviewed women involved in Viator Microcredit Bank there. My research question has thus been: How do women involved in a microfinance program in Ganja, Azerbaijan perceive the relationship between their self-perception and their microfinance involvement? This research is meant to be a contribution to the field of women and development, where I give women a voice and an opportunity to give their opinion of how microfinance, as a development tool, has an impact on their lives and their well-being. In this introductory chapter of my thesis, I will give a more detailed description of my research problem and research question, to give the reader a better understanding of what is being studied. I will also give a presentation of why I have chosen to do this study, and why I chose Ganja, Azerbaijan as the location for the study. Following this, I will give an explanation of the theory and method I have used to answer my research problem, and at the end I will give an outline of the following chapters.