By Peter Tashjian, KF11 Armenia
Recently, some interesting data was brought to my attention. Apparently women entrepreneurs are able to raise funds more quickly than men in the world of Kiva. My initial reaction was that this is wrong. The people I know would treat both men and women equally. Why then is it that people seem to more readily lend to women? I know from history, some quite recent, where women have had less rights than men.
“Woman suffrage in the United States was achieved gradually at state and local levels, during the 19th Century and early 20th” (from Wikipedia.org). Therefore even in the United States, it wasn’t until the 20th century that women were given equal rights. Now I realize that throughout history there have been different cultures with various complex organization systems and today in the United States, women traditionally get paid less than men. Though, it looks like this condition is being improved fortunately.
In any case, the issue is a very confusing one for me. There is way too much data on the topic for my brain to process. So the question is; who should I be lending to, men or women?
I decided to start from a blank slate and review each borrower profile on its own merit. Should I be lending to a male hair dresser in Yerevan Armenia? I lent to a woman who runs a small bakery so why not to a male hair dresser? This gentleman needs to live and provide for his family as well, and he too is entitled to equal opportunity.
So I decided that instead of playing the classic game of “boys vs. girls” where we took turns chasing one another during recess in elementary school, I’m going to make decisions without consideration to sex or occupation. So I decided to lend to the male hair dresser in Yerevan, Armenia. After leaving the army, this was the job he fell into and due to his resourcefulness and talent, made the most of it and now he’s expanding his business to serve women clients.