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Role of gender on the performance of Indian microfinance institutions

Chandralekha Ghosh (Department of Economics, West Bengal State University, Kolkata, India)
Samapti Guha (Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, School of Management and Labour Studies Qualification, Tata Institute of Social Science, Mumbai, India)

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Article publication date: 8 August 2019

Issue publication date: 12 September 2019




Microfinance institutions (MFIs) are known for their contribution to the women empowerment and poverty alleviation but it is not clear about the role of gender on the performance of this industry. It is important to explore the representation of both the gender in three levels, namely, decision-making, day-to-day management and implementation of the micro-financial services. This study aims to examine the impact of female board members, female managers and female field officers on the financial and social performance of the MFIs.


The authors have used random effect panel data analysis. The study covers 104 MFIs operating in India. The time period of the analysis is from 2010 to 2014.


The study has shown that as the number of female directors within the board increase there is an increase in cost per borrower. This is an indication that more female clients are being targeted. The increase in number of female managers leads to an increase in the number of active borrowers. The increase in the number of female staff members leads to an increase of operational self-sufficiency and yield of the gross portfolio.

Research limitations/implications

The present study has faced a lot of limitation due to the non-availability of the secondary data on the governance system of the microfinance industry. The study could not be undertaken for an extended period because of the unavailability of data for a long period.

Practical implications

This study has highlighted the role of gender in case of performance of microfinance institutions. The gender diversity at the field level has shown to enhance the financial performance of the MFIs. So, the MFIs should try to bring gender diversity at the operation level.

Social implications

This study has shown that an increase of woman directors at the board level increase female clients of MFIs. The increase of female managers also enhances number of female clients. So, the gender diversity at the managerial level and director level help MFIs to meet their social performance by reaching to more number of needy female clients.


The gender diversity at the three levels, namely, board level, managerial level and field operation level has not been analyzed in the Indian context. In India MFIs mainly target the female clients so in this context having gender diversity at the three levels of operation of the MFIs, which can improve both the financial and social performance of the MFIs.



Ghosh, C. and Guha, S. (2019), "Role of gender on the performance of Indian microfinance institutions", Gender in Management, Vol. 34 No. 6, pp. 429-443.



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Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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