Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2017

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


International Affairs

First Advisor

Dr. Thomas Zeiler

Second Advisor

Dr. Douglas Snyder

Third Advisor

Dr. Lucy Chester


This paper explores the relationship between microfinance and women, specifically in the case of Senegal and how being a predominantly Muslim country relates to microfinance and women. I focus on how microfinance can improve the lives of women and help alleviate poverty around the world. I show that women are more likely to make investments that improve both their own and their children’s lives than men. Further, women are reliable borrowers with high repayment rates and less risk than men. The social and macroeconomic structures in francophone Africa are shown to provide a fruitful environment for microfinance ventures. These facts combine to demonstrate how targeting women with microfinance leads to far improved outcomes relative to what can be achieved by targeting men. I contrast microfinance and more traditional charitable ventures and show that microfinance for women can achieve humanitarian goals.