Digital Frontiers

Gender

ARTICLES

Gender: The Blind Spot of the COVID-19 Response in Low- and Middle-income Countries

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges for governments and citizens around the world, straining health systems, economies, and the very social fabric of nations. This blog explores four potential fallouts of COVID-19 that will create lasting socio-economic impact on women in India and other LMI countries.

From Insights to Action: Gender Equality in the Wake of COVID-19

This publication summarizes data, research, and policy work by UN Women’s Policy and Programme Division on the pandemic’s impact on women and girls, including the impact on extreme poverty, employment, health, unpaid care, and violence against women and girls. The publication also brings into focus the paucity of gender data and calls for greater investment…

Women’s Economic Empowerment and Digital Finance (WEE-DiFine)

The White Paper focuses on developing a conceptual framework to explore the pathways linking WEE and DFS in great detail, reviews the current empirical evidence for each of these pathways, identifies challenges observed in interpreting the evidence, and highlights a set of priority questions that cut across the different research areas to be explored in…

Advancing Women’s Digital Financial Inclusion

Digital financial services have expanded opportunities for millions of women across the globe. More than 240 million more women now have an account with a financial institution or mobile money service, compared to 2014. Through this increased engagement in the formal economy, women’s resilience to financial, economic and health shocks is improving.  However, there remains…

Four Guiding Principles for User Research with Low-Income Women in Emerging Markets

Women’s World Banking have developed four principles to frame their user research with women in low- and middle-income countries, plus tips for putting each principle into practice during research design, implementation, and interpretation.

Digital Initiatives by Shakti Foundation for Disadvantaged Women: A Lesson for Progressive MFIs in Bangladesh

MicroSave Consulting has issued two case studies concerning Shakti Foundation’s digital initiatives for women. The first case study charts the journey of women clients of Shakti Foundation for Disadvantaged Women toward the adoption of voluntary savings products that ride on digital channels. While the second case study charts how Shakti Foundation for Disadvantaged Women utilized…

Why the Economic Response to COVID-19 Needs to be Financially Inclusive and Gender Sensitive

The Special Report highlights key gender-related issues facing society during the COVID-19 pandemic and some of the specific gender-sensitive financial inclusion responses that policymakers can undertake to ensure their mitigation and recovery activities are fully inclusive and work towards the network’s commitments in the Denarau Action Plan Gender is a cross-cutting theme in all aspects…

Green Delta, Bangladesh – The Case for Insuring Women for a Better Tomorrow

Green Delta Insurance Company (GDIC), a private non-life insurer in Bangladesh, was founded as a public limited company in December 1985. In 2013, GDIC became the first South Asian insurance company to receive equity investment from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group. GDIC differs from most of Bangladesh’s non-life…

Digital Cash Transfers in Times of COVID-19: Opportunities and Considerations for Women’s Inclusion and Empowerment

Women’s economic empowerment will be essential for a global economic recovery. Given pre-existing gender gaps, there are concerns about exclusion for many of the social assistance programs already being rolled out around the world. Social protection systems that ignore gender inequality will likely fail to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 for women, and, at worst,…

Global Microscope 2019: The Enabling Environment for Financial Inclusion

The Global Microscope for Financial Inclusion, now in its 12th year, is a benchmarking index that assesses the enabling environment for financial access in 55 countries. The 2019 Microscope features 11 new indicators to better assess what governments are doing to address the gender gap in financial inclusion.

Delivering on the Potential of Digitized G2P: Driving Women’s Financial Inclusion and Empowerment Through Indonesia’s Program Keluarga Harapan

Financial institutions and governments have been working for years to leverage digitized G2P for women’s financial inclusion and economic empowerment. COVID-19 has increased the stakes, as governments look to use G2P programs to strengthen women’s resilience. New research from Women’s World Banking offers insights on Indonesia’s PKH program, the country’s largest conditional cash transfer.

AXA Mansard, Nigeria – The Case for Insuring Women for a Better Tomorrow

In 2016, AXA Mansard—one of Nigeria’s largest insurance companies—began differentiating itself in an increasingly competitive retail market by focusing on women. With support from International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) Women’s Insurance Program, the company sought to become the preferred insurer and the employer of choice for Nigerian women. This led the company to conduct market research…

Case Study: Women’s Empowerment through Financial Inclusion Technology

This case study from FINCA speaks directly to the promotion of financial inclusion for women and equal access to capital, markets, digital technology and business development services. The initiative is a true testament to how access to credit, mobile technology and digital literacy are jointly contributing toward women’s economic empowerment.

1st For Women South Africa, The Case for Insuring Women for a Better Tomorrow

IFC has generated a case study on 1st for Women Insurance (1st for Women), which was launched in 2004 to provide insurance solutions specifically designed for South African women—a first in the country. The case study examines 1st for Women’s approach, the South African women’s market and developing women-centric insurance products.

How to Measure the Gender Impact of Investments

Within the field of impact investing, the emergence of Gender-Smart Investing (GSI) carries major significance. The growth of this investment lens has been rapid and the amounts invested are noteworthy. In 2018, 496 institutional asset owners reported that they applied gender lens criteria to $868 billion in assets; more than double the $397 billion identified…

Webinar on Demand: Top 10 Recommendations for Reaching Women with Mobile Across Low- and Middle-income Countries

This GSMA hosted webinar, considers real-life examples of what mobile operators are doing to reach female customers and discusses their top 10 recommendations for reaching women with mobile.

Advancing Women’s Digital Financial Inclusion

Digital financial services have expanded opportunities for millions of women across the globe. More than 240 million more women now have an account with a financial institution or mobile money service, compared to 2014. Through this increased engagement in the formal economy, women’s resilience to financial, economic and health shocks is improving. However, there remains…

COVID-19 and the Insurance Industry: Why a Gender-Sensitive Response Matters

Women play key roles in their homes, communities, and businesses. If insurers develop targeted approaches and products for women, they have the potential to earn up to $1.7 trillion by 2030. They can also help increase women’s understanding and willingness to buy insurance products to better protect their families or the companies women own or operate. The…

Gender and Financial Misconduct: A Field Experiment on Mobile Money

The findings of this study on SSRN raise important issues at the intersection of economics and culture, and indicate that preexisting social distance (particularly unequal gender empowerment and gendered beliefs) can incentivize undesirable market outcomes and may be an important source of local financial market frictions.

Innovative Financial Products and Services for Women in Asia and the Pacific

This paper from Asian Development Bank examines digital financial services and products—powered by financial technology—as well as low technology solutions that can boost digital financial inclusion for women in remote and rural areas. New and innovative digital approaches that facilitate access to finance can effectively support the socioeconomic empowerment of women in Asia and the…

Making Digital Finance Work for Women in the MENA Region: Eight Lessons from the Field

This brief from Arab Women’s Enterprise Fund highlights two regional case studies: the female agents, DFS Learning Program and other learnings from the MENA region that had an impact on how digital financial services can be used to accelerate women’s economic empowerment . The brief on making digital finance work for women in the MENA…

Understanding Women’s Rural Transition and Service Needs – Opportunities for Financial Service Providers

In this webinar recording FinEquity’s Social Norms lead , Nisha Singh facilitated a conversation with the Anne Maftei and Clara Colina from the Rural and Agricultural Finance Learning Lab on the recently published Pathways to Prosperity report and the associated gender deep dive. The authors highlighted the novel approach to customer segmentation proposed in the report. Based…

Changing Mindsets to Empower Women

This blog post and video interview on Next Billion features Roshaneh Zafar discusing how Kashf Foundation handles the challenges of serving women customers in Pakistan, why its services go far beyond microcredit, and where the development sector’s investments in women are still falling short.

Customer-Centric Guide

The CGAP Customer-Centric Guide is a collection of hands-on toolkits and experiments that help with the design and delivery of effective financial services for low-income customers.

The Real Story of Women’s Financial Inclusion in India

This research report from Microsave Consulting explores the real problems restricting women’s access to, and usage of, formal financial services in India, and recommends the use of introducing different categories of women so that use, uptake and design of products can be improved.    

Do No Harm Framework

This Do No Harm framework is meant to guide project/product/service design, implementation, monitoring and project exit with a focus on “doing no harm while doing good” for the women and families Grameen Foundation and its partners serve. Social norms shape how people behave and expect others to behave. They define what women’s and men’s roles…

Leveraging Digital Finance for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment

This working paper from UN Women is based on initial discussions with and between Task Force members, technical experts, practitioners, innovators, and other stakeholders, as well as on a review of available literature. The paper provides a basis to review the barriers, risks, and opportunities related to gender and the accessibility and utilization of digital…

Financial Technologies as a Factor of Financial Inclusion of Women

The purpose of this paper is to study the use of financial technologies by women in the financial market of Tajikistan, to identify existing barriers and drivers for expanding opportunities through financial technologies to increase the level of financial inclusion of women in the Republic of Tajikistan. The main method of research is a sociological…

Mobile money: A product of choice for women to send and receive remittances

Women constitute the majority of remittance recipients globally and remittances have an impact on both women’s actual income as well as on social norms. This article from GSMA explores the patterns of remittances and why it has a gendered appeal.

PoWER assessment of Women’s Economic Empowerment in The Gambia

This document from UNCDF presents the final analysis of data collected through desk research, interviews, focus group discussions, and surveys on women and girls’ financial inclusion in The Gambia. It provides the overall context of financial inclusion, demand-side analysis of women and girls’ financial needs, an outlook on financial service provision to women and girls,…

Designing Products and Developing Institutions to Serve Low-income Women”

Major takeaways from this publication from Women’s World Banking  include: How to develop a successful digital savings product for women, how to create sustainable financial products for youth and their families, must haves for credit programs focused on women-owned businesses, and best practices for creating leadership programs to drive change.

Leveraging Digital Finance for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment 

For women and girls, the digital revolution represents one of the biggest opportunities and threats to gender equality. In recognition of this critical dichotomy, the UNSG Task Force on Digital Financing for the SDGs has selected gender as one of the main themes of its work. This working paper provides a basis to review the…

Women and Money

IDEO.org is a two-year initiative to surface the complex realities that keep women excluded from financial services and build solutions that unlock new opportunities to include women. In research was conducted in six contexts: Tanzania, Bangladesh, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, and India culminating in a report that illuminates global insights and opportunities for design. You can…

Women, Business and the Law

Gender equality is a critical component of economic growth. Women are half of the world’s population and we have our role to play in creating a more prosperous world. But we won’t succeed in playing it if the laws are holding us back. To develop a better understanding of how women’s employment and entrepreneurship are…

Social Commerce Entrepreneurship and New Opportunities for Women’s Financial Inclusion in India and Indonesia

With support from Standard Chartered and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Women’s World Banking conducted research in India and Indonesia to investigate the potential of social commerce to advance women entrepreneurs’ financial inclusion.

Capabilities in Digital Financial Services – Calming the Fears of Myanmar’s Unbanked

This paper from ONOW Myanmar covers the results from a six-month pilot which was conducted in early 2019 through our digital platform Build3, which utilizes chatbot technology. For the pilot, ONOW partnered with USAID, Visa Myanmar, Yoma Bank and Ayeyarwaddy Farmers Bank to reach more than 160,000 users. The paper covers the methodology and insights…

10 Lessons Learnt: Closing the Gender Gap in Internet Access and Use

The internet has made communication quicker and easier, information more easily available, businesses more efficient, and education, entertainment and public services more accessible than ever before. According to the ITU, more than half of the world’s population is now connected to the internet. Internet connectivity is not, however, equitable and the gender gap persists. For…

Blockchain 101: What Is It and How Can It Empower Women? – Webinar

The promise — and potential — of blockchain to drive social impact is massive. From financial services, through supply chains, land and identity registries, blockchain is set to become the next transformative technology in development and humanitarian relief. Some of the initial blockchain use cases also showcase potential for how it can drive women’s economic empowerment – by enabling…

Mitigating Women’s Safety Concerns with Mobile: A Case Study of Vodafone Idea’s Sakhi service

In October 2018, Vodafone Idea Ltd launched Sakhi, a service to address key barriers women face to accessing and using mobile in India, as well as women’s concerns about personal safety – both the safety issues and threats that may arise from owning a mobile and general safety concerns that women experience that mobile could help…

Integrating Gender in Research Planning

Research can open doors for more gender equitable futures. Gender analysis is built on an understanding of the differences and inequalities in the interrelated lives of women, men, and members of other gender diverse groups, often shaped by unequal power relations and norms that dictate what roles, attitudes and behaviours are considered normal or appropriate.…

Data Driving Action for Women Dialogue Series

During the 63rd United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, BNY Mellon and Data2X’s Women’s Financial Inclusion Data (WFID) partnership, including the Global Banking Alliance for Women, convened senior representatives from global financial institutions for a dialogue on a central question: how can financial institutions best serve women clients, and how can data guide these efforts? The roundtable discussion generated thoughtful insights and concrete examples…

Policy framework for women’s financial inclusion using digital financial services

This framework from afi provides guidance to regulators and policymakers of the AFI network and beyond, in leveraging DFS to advance women’s financial inclusion. The policy framework is a result of in-depth secondary research and extensive consultation with AFI member countries, stakeholders (including various regulators across the globe), key bilateral and multilateral bodies, research agencies…

Gender Self-Assessment Toolkit for Financial Service Providers

With support from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), UNCDF has been working to address system-wide constraints to women’s financial inclusion through working with financial services providers (FSPs) in ASEAN. To this end, UNCDF developed a toolkit composed of an institutional gender self-assessment tool (GSAT) and a standardised process with facilitator guides to…

Profiting from Parity : Unlocking the Potential of Women’s Business in Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rate of entrepreneurship in the world, with approximately 42 percent of the non-agricultural labor force classified as self-employed or employers. Yet most entrepreneurs are unable to grow their businesses beyond small-scale subsistence operations, impeding their contribution to poverty reduction and shared prosperity. This is particularly so for women. This new…

Reach, Benefit and Empower Women with Financial Services

This paper, showcases the importance of appropriate financial services for women to increase female entrepreneurship in agriculture and to secure the highly necessary agricultural growth. We aim to encourage the NpM members (inclusive finance investors) and other professionals working in the financial sector to ensure that women are reached by financial services, but also to…

REPOA: Mobile Phone Ownership and DFS in Tanzania

While mobile phone access is a strong influencer of digital financial services amongst women, barriers to usage are often less clear. In Tanzania, REPOA undertook an RCT with 1350 women, to study women’s uptake of Digital Financial Services beyond basic and smart phone ownership. This significant research offered several findings around the factors that influence usage of DFS, including the role…

A Gender-Inclusive Southeast Asia through Entrepreneurship

This report, commissioned by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF), and developed by Dalberg Advisors, looks at changing the lives of women through entrepreneurship. While many development indicators demonstrate that the lives of women in Southeast Asia have improved drastically, endemic problems continue to keep women from fulfilling their potential. Over 70% of women remain employed in the informal sector, one…

Women’s Digital Financial Inclusion in Africa

This report prepared at the request of the G7 French Presidency, is a blueprint for closing that gap of 400 million and creating a world that is both more prosperous and more equal for everyone. This year, the French Presidency of the G7 chose a theme based on a big, bold, important idea: fighting inequality. Like most ideas, though, it…

Five Principles for Building Women’s Capacity for Digital Financial Services

The digitalisation of G2P payments could financially include millions more women, however, many women do not use their accounts and cash out immediately upon receipt of funds. While there are several supply-side factors affecting women’s full participation (poorly designed products, lack of choice, etc.), one of the more common hypotheses is that women lack the knowledge and skills to…

Sex-Disaggregated Data Toolkit: How to Leverage Sex-Disaggregated Financial Inclusion Data to Accelerate Women’s Financial Inclusion

This AFI Financial Inclusion Data (FID) Working Group Guideline Note outlines steps to using supply and demand side sex-disaggregated data to close the financial inclusion gender gap based on the experience of AFI Member institutions in a range of countries including: Bangladesh, Burundi, Costa Rica, Chile, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Haiti, Malaysia, Morocco, Rwanda, Samoa,…

Can Social Norms Theory Provide a Roadmap for Women’s Financial Inclusion?

With one in every three women still being financially excluded, there is increased recognition of the role that gendered social norms play in limiting economic opportunities for women. Social Norms shape women’s access to and control over resources and consequently their ability to access financial products and services. While a lot of attention has been…

Women’s Empowerment and Savings Groups: What do we know?

The SEEP Network examined the pathways between Savings Groups and women’s empowerment and how how women’s empowerment outcomes can be enhanced and better sustained through Savings Groups. This research was completed through a comprehensive literature review, analysing data from four large programs in East Africa, and research in Ethiopia and Tanzania. It focused on the the relationship between…

The Mobile Gender Gap Report 2019

The GSMA’s Mobile Gender Gap Report 2019 outlines the changes in the gender gap among low and middle income countries along with identifying barriers and opportunities facing equal mobile ownership and use. Read more here

Labour Pains: Discovering the Financial Lives of Zambian Mothers

Zambian women are still largely excluded from formal financial services, and gender barriers are high due to social and cultural norms. This report summarises research by the UNCDF which looked at the needs of Zambian mothers as a user group (similar to farmers or refugees). Read more here to see the similarities and differences found and…

How Digital Solutions Can Bolster Women’s Financial Inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa

This note from World Bank Group explores the many ways that women in Sub-Saharan Africa are using digital payment services through mobile phones, the internet, and bank accounts. It also outlines opportunities to use digital technology to bring financial services to women who still have no accounts.

Women, Work, and Economic Growth : Leveling the Playing Field

Despite progress, wide gender gaps remain: women have fewer economic opportunities than men, more men than women work in most countries, and women often get paid less for similar work. As a result, the tremendous potential economic contribution from women remains untapped in a number of countries. Gender equity is in itself an important social objective, but the…

Women on the Move Annual Report 2018

Women on the Move is a CARE regional strategy to mobilise savings groups in West Africa, so that women and girls can assert their basic economic and social rights. Evidence has shown that women-led savings groups are a powerful platform for promoting women’s economic empowerment, women’s voices and gender equality. Our aim is that 8…

Financial Inclusion for Women: A Way Forward

Despite the general progress made in terms of financial inclusion worldwide (there has been a nominal increase in the number of adults who have access to a bank account), the gender gap remains unaltered since 2011. In order to overcome the barriers faced by women to access and use financial services three sets of recommendations…

Women in Finance: A Case for Closing Gaps

Women are underrepresented at all levels of the global financial system, from depositors and borrowers to bank board members and regulators. A new study at the IMF finds that greater inclusion of women as users, providers, and regulators of financial services would have benefits beyond addressing gender inequality. Narrowing the gender gap would foster greater…

Fiscal Policies and Gender Equality

Historically, women around the world have had fewer opportunities than men in education, employment, health care, and politics. The moral argument for gender equality is clear, and the economic evidence is mounting. The International Monetary Fund and other international institutions have worked to help whittle away at the barriers that prevent girls and women from…

Mainstreaming Gender and Targeting Women in Inclusive Insurance: Perspectives and Emerging Lessons

This collection of notes and case studies, Mainstreaming Gender and Targeting Women in Inclusive Insurance: Perspectives and Emerging Lessons, covers a number of themes related to demand and supply of insurance products for women, with a focus on the inclusive insurance market—which seeks to include clients who either don’t have insurance or lack the right…

Revisiting What Works: Women, Economic Empowerment and Smart Design

Expanding women’s economic opportunities benefits both women and society. While these benefits are increasingly well understood, much less is known regarding the most effective interventions to empower women economically. Updated evidence presented in the full Revisiting What Works: Women, Economic Empowerment and Smart Design Report yields useful insights on the interventions that may contribute to women’s…

Promoting Women’s Financial Inclusion- a toolkit

Financial inclusion benefits individuals and households, and well-functioning financial systems benefit whole countries. However, access to financial services is highly unequal, with poor people – and particularly poor women – frequently the least served by existing institutions and systems. There is ample evidence of how financial inclusion projects of different types can, if properly designed…

mWomen Marketing Handbook

This handbook is part of a portfolio of tools available to help mobile network operators and other members of the mobile ecosystem to improve their services for women in low- and middle-income countries.  

Reaching Half of the Market: Women and Mobile Money

To reach scale and impact in their operations, mobile money operators cannot ignore women, who make up half of the potential customer base. However, penetration of services within this group remains low and there are many barriers that keep women from adopting and using these services, such as low levels of literacy and mobile phone…