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Drake to host lecture on microfinance and women's empowerment

March 23, 2009
CONTACT: Lisa Lacher, 515-271-3119, lisa.lacher@drake.edu

A free public lecture, titled "Microfinance and Women's Empowerment: Perspectives from India and Beyond," will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 25, at Drake University.

Sharon Benzoni, executive director of the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council and the Council for International Visitors to Iowa Cities, will give the lecture in Bulldog Theater in Olmsted Center, 2875 University Ave.

The event is sponsored by Students for Women's Issues, the Drake Center for Global Citizenship and the Drake chapter of Amnesty International.

Microfinance offers the promise of addressing poverty from the bottom up while empowering women and the poor. Its founder, Muhammad Yunus, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, asserts that microfinance has the power to relegate poverty to museums.

In her lecture, Benzoni will discuss the history and basic concepts of the microfinance movement and its role in gender rights, sharing some of her field experiences in India.

She also will address the impact of microfinance on both poverty and women's rights and some of the criticisms and pitfalls that face the movement. Lastly, she'll look at emerging trends in microfinance and ways that people can get involved.