Global experts from the World Bank, the Women’s Financial Inclusion Data Partnership, Consumer-Centric and Data 2X spoke virtually about financial inclusion since COVID-19 on Thursday, July 28th 2022.
Global experts discuss how to improve women’s economic status and provide market opportunities
Facts and figures have shown that women are unbanked and marginalized when it comes to access to financial services.
The experts on the panel were Leora Klapper from the World Bank, Mayra Buvinic an expert at gender and social development at Data 2x, Anna Gincherman, partner at ConsumerCentrix (CCX), and Inez Murray, CEO of the Financial Alliance for Women.
Here was what was discussed;
The financial exclusion women face in developing countries and Sub-Saharan Africa
To reach the Sustainable Development Goals, the gender gap must be closed.
Women are marginalized financially by traditional banks when it comes to access to financial services and products - mostly because they lack access to title deeds and ownership of property as well as unrealistic interest rates.
They are less likely to own bank accounts and less likely to be offered loans even though the upkeep of the home and family is usually on their shoulders.
Providing women with access to financial resources will lead to improved quality of life in these countries as they would use the money to send their children to school, take care of their health and provide adequate nutrition.
Also, women are more likely to save money and repay loans than men.
They all sat down virtually to discuss the access women have to digital money, market opportunities, loans, and how the public economic power sector and financial institutions can achieve gender equality objectives and accelerate women’s economic power.
According to the World Bank, more people have access to banks and other financial institutions, “Globally, in 2021, 76 per cent of adults had an account at a bank or regulated institution such as a credit union, microfinance institution, or a mobile money service provider.''
Also, digital financial platforms have increased the chances of people having access to financial services and products in Africa.
According to the World Bank, “In Sub-Saharan Africa in 2021, 55 per cent of adults had an account, including 33 per cent of adults who had a mobile money account—the largest share of any region in the world and more than three times larger than the 10 per cent global average of mobile money account ownership.”
What of women?
However, women are still largely unbanked, and there is no gender equality when it comes to financial inclusion.
The World Bank reports that “Globally, there is a gender gap in financial inclusion. Women are 7 percentage points less likely than men to have a bank account.”
“Even when women have an account, they frequently have difficulty obtaining a loan for their business or other purposes, and are very likely to be underbanked.”
“Women are also more likely to be dissatisfied with banking services worldwide. For women-owned micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises in emerging economies alone, there is an estimated US$1.7 trillion finance gap.”
What can be done?
Data is everything. When it comes to increasing women’s access to financial resources, data is important! increasing funding for gender data, improving the availability and quality of gender data, and also using gender data to drive smarter and more equitable policies.
Aimed with this data, the World Bank of developing countries can use this information to create policies and initiatives that can grant women more access to financial services.
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