Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 4-22-2015


Social Justice and Community Engagement


This study explores microfinance, an evidence based practice which is largely used in developing countries to empower the most marginalized (e.g., women and the poorest of the poor) by utilizing a variety of strategies. The positive effects of microfinance for empowerment, social capital, practical needs and strategic gender interests have been aligned with this study to identify the root cause(s) of vulnerability and address the problem of social and economic exclusion of skilled South Asian immigrant women in Brantford. By utilizing a theoretical approach that synthesizes intersectionality and the dissemination-of-innovations framework, this study identifies the root cause of barriers faced at individual level, as an underlying shared cultural assumption that women are responsible for domestic tasks and men are responsible for market tasks. By involving the participants as agents for change, this study identifies the practical needs and strategic gender interests of these women. The group indicates the material and non-material resources and the agency that they require to attain their perceived empowerment. Furthermore, this study identifies the strategic gender interests of these women, which they could not consciously name because of their internalization of the cultural values. The study’s findings could be instrumental for community organizations, which serve immigrants by strategically positioning community resources to meet the actual needs of the women, thereby supporting their self-empowerment process as individuals and as a group.