This seminar has passed. To watch online, please visit the Seminars section of the SWGI website.
The Saida Waheed Gender Initiative Seminar Series brings together faculty and students from across LUMS’ schools to promote interdisciplinary dialogue around gender as a category of analysis and action.
In collaboration with the Suleman Dawood School of Business (SDSB) Seminar Series, we are pleased to present:
Gold Collateralized Microcredit: Pawning a Gendered Asset
Speaker: Ghazal Zulfiqar
Date: December 4, 2015
Venue: SDSB Faculty Lounge
About the Speaker:
Ghazal Mir Zulfiqar is an Assistant Professor at the Suleman Dawood School of Business, where she is also Director of the Social Enterprise Development Centre. Dr. Zulfiqar’s research engages with the political economy of poverty, gender and class-based inequalities. Prior to joining LUMS, Dr. Zulfiqar was on the Economics faculty at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where her research on microfinance and gender in Pakistan won the Public Policy Book Award in 2014. Dr Zulfiqar has a PhD in Public Policy from the University of Massachusetts Boston, an MSc in Development Finance from the School of Oriental and African Studies and an MBA from the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi.
Based on an urban sample of 50 households from across Karachi and Lahore this study analyzes the impact of gold collateralized microcredit on borrowing households. This collateralized arrangement is a byproduct of the recent financialization of microcredit. But the practitioner’s claim is that collateralizing gold jewelry introduces an idle asset into the economic mainstream thereby enhancing economic wellbeing at the household and national level. The findings of this research suggest that unlike traditional microcredit, cash-poor families use gold collateralized microcredit primarily to tide themselves over during emergencies, which tend to occur frequently. This does not, however, enhance wellbeing over the long run, especially since loan repayability remains highly contentious.
Applying a theoretical framework informed by feminist economics and cultural anthropology, this study also argues that the transaction neglects to consider the highly gendered nature of gold, particularly in the socio-cultural context of Pakistan. Collateralizing gold has implications for gender dynamics within the household. The transaction puts women at risk of intergenerational asset depletions, particularly when gold is the only asset women in Pakistan can usually lay claim to and which directly affects their self-esteem, status, and social security.