Access to bank loans
A loan is a type of debt. In monetary terms, a loan entails the redistribution of financial assets over time, between the lender and the borrower. Loans are an important tool for social mobility. They allow people to purchase property, establish a business, or attend school.
Loans and Discrimination
In many countries, not all citizens have access to loans, especially those given by banks. Wealthy people and poor people, as well as men and women, do not have the same access or rights to bank loans or other forms of credit. This contributes to an imbalance in society and in many instances, creates or enforces a hierarchal structure. Many women and poor people cannot secure a loan because they do not have the neccessary collateral. In Cameroon and Ethiopia, some banks demand the husband's guarantee as one of the conditions for granting a loan to a married woman.
The imbalance in access to bank loans has been in the international spotlight for several years. In 1979, the United Nations established Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) which recognised that women were disenfranchised when seeking loans. Specifically, Article 13 of the CEDAW mentioned the discrimination in access to bank loans and credit:
Article 13. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against other areas of economic and social life in order to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women, the same rights, in particular:
(b) The right to bank loans, mortgages and other forms of financial credit;
Statistics on credit and loans are sometimes also provided in reports to the CEDAW.
In some countries, a quota system in favour of women has been established to ensure that credit is accessible to women. In Brazil, the Ministry of Agrarian Development determined that 30% of funds in the National Programme for Strengthening Family Agriculture should be earmarked or activities targeted at rural women. In its Agrarian Reform Programme, it also earmarked 30% of all funds for family agriculture units. In Chile, the National Institute for Agricultural Development has adopted a policy to support the productive activities of peasant women, and has changed the rules on access to credit to extend coverage to women and young people.
Microcredit and other forms of Microfinance have also helped disenfranchised people improved their access to loans. Microcredit loans target poor people and women. While the practice began in the 1960s and 1970s, and was accepted by development organisations by the mid-1970s, it only recently gained mainstream recognition when one of its pioneers, Muhammad Yunus, an economic professor in Bangladesh, won the Nobel Peace Prize (2006). The United Nations declared 2005 the International Year of Microcredit.
- Empowering Women through Microfinance: Evidence from India
- Conversations for a Better World
- Access to Education
- Access to Water and Sanitation
- Access to land
- Access to internet and computers
- Access to property
- Full text of the CEDAW 
- FAO, IFAT, ILC (2004), Rural Women’s access to Land and Property in Selected countries, pregress towards achieving the aims of the convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, Report Gender and Population Division (FAO) ,Technical Advisory Division (IFAD, and International Land Coalition (ILC).
- International Year of Microcredit
- Nobel Prize