The Effect of Microfinance Bank Services on Women Empowerment: The case for Women Entrepreneurs in Irbid, Jordan (SMEs)
Keywords:Women empowerment, women entrepreneur, SMEs, microfinance bank services, Jordan
Generally, women, entrepreneurs face problems in accessing funding due to factors that stem from cultural values, ??societal needs, family ties, illiteracy, gender discrimination, strict government policies, economic crisis, and the lack of training in entrepreneurship and skills acquisition that hinders entrepreneurial activities. This study was conducted to examine the impact of microfinance bank services in empowering female entrepreneurship in Irbid Governorate. The study used a cross-sectional survey research design consisting of 20,000 registered businesswomen. A total of 392 working women were selected using stratified sampling technique and the data was analysed using Least Square Structural Equation Modelling (PLS-SEM) with the help of SmartPLS3 software. The results showed that microfinance loans, microfinance savings, and financial interventions or donations had a significant, positive impact on empowering women's businesses in Irbid, Jordan. The study concluded that microfinance deposits could elevate women’s income and act as a guarantee to obtain loans and other microfinance services. Consequently, microfinance institutions (MFIs) should empower more women-owned businesses. In addition, the government through the Central Bank of Jordan should reduce the interest rate of microfinance banks to attract more female entrepreneurs and create more microfinance bank plans and financial intervention packages to enhance financial services to ensure donations and funds reach women entrepreneurs.