Despite overall progress in financial inclusion, the gender gap in account ownership has remained stubbornly persistent at nine percentage points since 2011, according to Global Findex. The reasons are complex, often interwoven with greater exclusion and vulnerability for women than men, and underpinned by social norms, which are not well understood or tackled by financial inclusion programming. CGAP seeks to bring a deeper understanding of the interplay of social norms and women’s financial inclusion, and simultaneously mainstream a gender lens across all of its programmatic areas focused on helping poor people capture opportunities and build resilience.
CGAP places a priority on the economic empowerment of women through financial inclusion. We are investigating what prevailing social norms constrain women’s uptake and usage of financial services, and how financial service providers and policymakers can work towards alleviating such constraints. We also look at how financial inclusion programs can incorporate gender-based insights on norms, which can help women grow income generating opportunities, or navigate technology in the same way as men.
Online market places are expanding through digital platforms and social media, spurring new or expanded opportunities for income generation by poor women globally. CGAP is delving into the livelihood generation opportunities informal e-commerce leveraging social networking platforms, as well as gig work facilitated by dedicated platforms. Exploring the role financial services can play in supporting women’s participation will help market systems facilitators and financial service providers better meet women’s financial needs.
To advance women’s financial inclusion, there needs to be a deeper understanding of use cases in which financial services can be leveraged by women, and how stakeholders are supporting them. FinEquity, a community of practice convened by CGAP to advance women’s financial inclusion globally, plays a key role in connecting stakeholders and sharing knowledge. Working with financial service providers, donors play an important role in identifying and investing in innovative solutions in product design, channel delivery, policy, ecosystem development, and data. CGAP’s gender work across the institution supports the women’s empowerment mandates of its members.
As part of our gender work, CGAP also hosts FinEquity, a global community of practice consisting of 1,500 members, representing some 400 institutions from 70 countries. FinEquity provides facilitated platforms to share experiences, identify key challenges and discuss ways to solve problems in increasing access to and use of financial services by women. Its strategy is guided by member needs, and it currently has three working groups: Measurement and Data, Social Norms, and Technology. Learn More>>