|Focus on Women (HABITAT, 1991, 28 p.)|
The financial rules commonly employed for loans, mortgages and other forms of credit, by both formal and informal institutions, have put women at a significant disadvantage in acquiring credit for housing and other investments. In fact, women are up against both institutional practices and societal prejudices.
On the one hand, contributions made by women to households carry little or no social and economic recognition; on the other, incomes earned by women in formal labour markets are viewed as secondary because they are usually low and made under unstable and often temporary conditions. As a result, women face many obstacles in providing proof of an adequate and dependable - usually interpreted as formal employment - income before they can obtain loans from conventional lending institutions. There are also problems related to downpayment requirements and proof of adequate savings, both of which preclude women from getting loans for housing.
Innovative forms of collateral have been tried, such as making groups of low-income women responsible for loan repayments. These would replace conditions demanding proof of employment and income. Some programmes may even accept vendor licences and the house itself as collateral.