Women’s empowerment is essential for socio-economic development as it is considered as one of the major factors for increasing worldwide development efforts. The influence of microfinance on women's empowerment is a debatable topic, as past studies have documented. Some researchers claim that microfinance facilitates women to increase their earning capacity, leading to greater control to tackle cultural irregularities. Others contend that their spouses mostly control micro-loans provided to women, causing severe demotion of women. In this paper, we examined the findings of past studies through word cloud analysis to determine the influence of microfinance on the decision-making power of women and their social empowerment. Among the 54 studies reviewed in this paper, most research studies were found to conclude positive associations between microfinance and women's empowerment. In several studies, results varied due to the measure of empowerment applied gender or socio-political differences. This study is one of its kind in that it evaluated past literature for assessing the relationship between microfinance and women's empowerment.

Author Biography

Ms. Ambreen Khursheed is a Senior Lecturer and PhD scholar at UCP Business School. She is MS qualified (Gold Medalist). She has experience working in several financial and educational institutions including State Bank of Pakistan and British Council. Her research interests lie in the areas of Women Entrepreneurship, Technology Entrepreneurship, Women’s Empowerment, and Entrepreneurial Finance. She has participated in various national and international conferences and has published her research work in several international peer reviewed journals.

Dr. Ather Azim Khan is currently working as Associate Dean of UCP Business School, Faculty of Management Studies, University of Central Punjab. He holds a Ph.D. in Commerce, with his research on Microfinance. He has about 27 years of work experience including his professional experience in the corporate sector, where he worked as Director Finance and Chief Accountant in different organizations. Dr. Ather is the editor of the research journal Paradigms, which is an approved journal of the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan. The journal is published by the University of Central Punjab. He is also the director of the Volunteer in Service program of the university. He has been a member of Curriculum Committees of HEC, an approved research & publication trainer, and sits in various committees of public and private organizations.

Dr. Faisal Mustafa is Dean and Provost at University of Central Punjab. He has an 18 years’ international career as Professor (Dean), Data Scientist, Senior BI, Consultant, IT Transformation Director and as a Lead researcher. He received his PhD from University of Huddersfield, UK. His research focuses on Technology Entrepreneurship, Business Intelligence, Semantic Web services, and Business Simulation Modeling. His academia action research strand focuses on multidisciplinary curriculum development, inclusive learning, and participatory engagement in a collaborative research environment to support teaching & learning in lifelong sector.