The Role of Microcredit in Reducing Women’s Vulnerabilities to Multiple Disasters

Citation:

Ray-Bennett, Nibedita S. 2010. “The Role of Microcredit in Reducing Women’s Vulnerabilities to Multiple Disasters.” Disasters 34 (1): 240-60.

Author: Nibedita S. Ray-Bennett

Abstract:

This article explores the relationship between microcredit and vulnerability reduction for women-headed households in ‘multiple disasters’. Here multiple disasters are understood as disasters that occur in one specific place and cause severe devastation. The case study covers the super-cyclone in 1999, floods in 2001 and 2003, and drought in 2002 in Orissa, India. The study entailed eight months fieldwork and interviews with several governmental and non-governmental officials and 12 women-headed households from different social castes. The findings suggest that micro-credit is a useful tool to replace women’s livelihood assets that have been lost in multiple disasters. But inefficient microcredit delivery can cause microdebts and exacerbate caste, class and gender inequalities. It is posited that microcredit delivery cannot achieve vulnerability reduction for women in multiple disasters unless it is complemented by effective financial services, integrated policy planning and disaster management between government, non-governmental organisations and the community.

Keywords: microcredit, multiple disasters, Orissa, vulnerability, women-headed households

Topics: Caste, Class, Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Households, Livelihoods, NGOs Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2010

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