New data from the 2016 Gallup World Poll show that 81 percent of women worldwide own a mobile phone. Although large gender gaps in mobile phone ownership persist in certain countries, mobile phones are more ubiquitous among women than are financial accounts.
Promoting mobile phone ownership among women does not easily lead to women’s use of mobile money, and more research is needed to understand how to leverage mobile phones for payments and other financial services for women. In particular, further research should focus on how to promote digital accounts and payments for young women, whose rates of mobile phone ownership are often higher than that of older women.
Sex disaggregated data will help us to track relative progress in women’s financial inclusion across countries and over time. As we continue to see the promise of digital technology as a powerful tool for women’s financial inclusion, it will be important to complement these data with greater knowledge around the dynamics behind these numbers: What drives the current landscape for women’s mobile phone ownership? What will persuade women to use their phones for mobile money?
To learn more about women’s financial inclusion, visit CGAP’s Women’s Financial Inclusion Community of Practice.