Banking On Women-Taking Ownership
“People who own property feel a sense of ownership in their future and their society. They study, save, work, strive and vote. And people trapped in a culture of tenancy do not.”
Henry Louis Gates
Today we are discussing taking ownership, and the need for women to take ownership. Women bear almost all responsibility for meeting basic needs of the family, yet at times are denied the resources, information and freedom of action they need to fulfill this responsibility. Women have always been the pillar and foundation of a household, and it is important to provide women with the opportunities to lead and succeed.
In Kenya, through the Women Enterprise Fund (WEF) provided by the government, Chase Bank (K) Ltd and selected leading industry members are able to provide loans at low interest rates. These interest rates have been subsidized specifically for women in small and medium sized businesses or collective groups to enable them to expand their business and own properties.
Women Banking empowers the whole woman, not only teaching her the skills she needs to launch and grow a business, but using positive mentoring, confidence building classes, and peer-to-peer relationships to help women rebuild self-esteem, leadership skills and become engaged members of communities.
It is important to note that in many parts of the world, women do not enjoy the same rights to land that men do, and the overwhelming majority of women lack legal control over the land they rely on to either farm or investment. Land is more than an economic asset that women should be allowed to use productively. It is also a means of empowerment, as the greater economic independence that results from land ownership enhances the woman’s role in decision-making and allows her to garner more social, family and community support. Women can purchase land either individually or through a collective scheme (Chama). Collective scheme (Chama) land ownership is also a potential means for women to secure a financially viable land holding, thereby enabling them to use modern agro-techniques and access the credit and farm inputs available through state and private institutions.