CUREJ - College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal

Credit and Co-Wives : exploring empowerment in Senegal

Amelia Duffy-Tumasz, University of Pennsylvania

Division: Social Sciences

Dept/Program: Urban Studies

Document Type: Undergraduate Student Research

Mentor(s): Andrew Lamas

Date of this Version: 01 December 2005

This document has been peer reviewed.



With promises of “bottom-up” economic development and women’s empowerment, microfinance has been established as the “new orthodoxy” in mainstream development circles (Fernando 1997). This study suggests a more limited potential for microfinance to reduce poverty, however. Instead of alleviating poverty, microfinance may be improving the incomes of already established, relatively prosperous women micro-entrepreneurs. How enhanced income translates into social power for women will be a central theme of this essay. Specifically, this topic will be treated within the urban, polygamous and Senegalese context. The role that ideology plays in this process will also be crucial. Polygamy can be understood as such an ideology aiding in income’s transformation into power for women. This consideration helps make the case that women’s empowerment is a complex process that requires both female income and a value system that validates such productivity.

Suggested Citation

Duffy-Tumasz, Amelia , "Credit and Co-Wives : exploring empowerment in Senegal" 01 December 2005. CUREJ: College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal, University of Pennsylvania,

Date Posted: 08 February 2006

This document has been peer reviewed.




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