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Social Norms Change for Women’s Financial Inclusion

Despite decades-long efforts by financial inclusion development practitioners, women continue to lag behind men in access to formal accounts. Sectors, such as health and education, have seen significant advances in women’s participation and corresponding behavior change by both men and women. Financial inclusion could do a lot more to learn from how other sectors have achieved this kind of progress. One important mechanism other sectors have used is deep understanding of how social norms impact attitudes and behaviors.

This Brief by CGAP introduces basic concepts of social norms change theory, reviews current practices regarding approaches to financial inclusion, and explores gendered lessons learned from other sectors that can be applied to financial inclusion.

CGAP is a global partnership of more than 30 leading development organizations that works to advance the lives of poor people through financial inclusion. Using action-oriented research, we test, learn and share knowledge intended to help build inclusive and responsible financial systems that move people out of poverty, protect their economic gains and advance broader development goals. We research and experiment to achieve proof of concept and extract lessons that can be built to scale by our partners, who apply our insights in the marketplace.