Access to micro credit and economic empowerment: Perceptions amongst market women in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, Nigeria
This paper examined the perceptions of market women on access to micro credit and economic empowerment in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. The study adopted the descriptive research design and a total of 180 market women were randomly selected from Swali, Opolo, and Tombia markets in Yenagoa. The study adopted the simple percentage method of data analysis especially the use of frequency tables. Findings show that market women have a low socio-economic status due to financial and cultural constraints that impede their entrepreneurial progress and by extension their economic empowerment. Also the study revealed that market women have little or no access to micro credit schemes largely due to inaccessibility to information, gender discrimination and rigid practices by available micro credit institutions. Following these findings, the study recommends the pursuit of wealth redistribution policies by the government, increased access to economic and political resources as well as eradication of all forms of gender discrimination as a sustainable approach to socio-economic empowerment of women in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
Keywords: Micro credit, Accessibility, Economic empowerment, Gender discrimination, Market women, Nigeria