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Making Women Pay

Making Women Pay

Microfinance in Urban India

by Smitha Radhakrishnan

Published by: Duke University Press Books

272 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 x 0.00 mm, 11 illustrations

  • ISBN: 9781478014874
  • Published: December 2021

£20.99

In Making Women Pay, Smitha Radhakrishnan explores India's microfinance industry, which in the last two decades has come to saturate the everyday lives of women in the name of state-led efforts to promote financial inclusion and women's empowerment. Despite this favorable language, she argues, microfinance in India does not provide a market-oriented development intervention, even though it may appear to help women borrowers. Rather, this commercial industry seeks to extract the maximum value from its customers through exploitative relationships that benefit especially class-privileged men. Through ethnography, interviews, and historical analysis, Radhakrishnan demonstrates how the unpaid and underpaid labor of marginalized women borrowers ensures both profitability and symbolic legitimacy for microfinance institutions, their employees, and their leaders. In doing so, she centralizes gender in the study of microfinance, reveals why most microfinance programs target women, and explores the exploitative implications of this targeting.