Listen Now: From insights to function: designing for women’s financial inclusion.


Author: Xanske le Roux


Hosted in partnership with FinEquity, this webinar explored their recent research on the importance of gender-intelligent design in improving women’s use of Digital Financial Services (DFS). The webinar focused on two case studies: WomenSave of Uganda which works on digitizing savings groups, and Lucy, a mobile banking app that has been designed specifically for entrepreneurial women, including Foreign Domestic Workers in Singapore.

Catherine Highet (FinEquity), Marie Mintalucci (WomenSave), Debbie Watkins (Lucy) and Sarah Corley (DFI) discussed some of the practicalities and importance of designing financial products for women. Digital Financial Services (DFS) help to economically empower women. Good DFS design goes well beyond interfaces or marketing approaches: it is vital in ensuring that a financial service resonates with women. To achieve this, we need to understand women’s lives and realities, and how those impact their usage of products and services. A key component of the success of WomenSave and Lucy were the research conducted prior to design to understand the challenges women faced within the culture/context, both Debbie and Marie express the importance of this research and understanding and how this translated into the design of products that have eased and encouraged women’s use of DFS.

WomenSave targets poor (living on less than $2 a day) women in underserved areas of Uganda, offering clients financial literacy training and financial advisory services, access to mobile money and goal-based savings plans. During their research for this case study, WomenSave noted through behavioural science that people are more likely to save for specific goals. Currently, WomenSave has an average of 1300 active clients, who they have empowered to meet over 1165 financial goals and within a two-year time span helped these clients more than double their individual emergency reserve funds.  Read more in the WomenSave case study.

Launched in 2021, Lucy is a neobank for entrepreneurial women, providing DFS and business building tools and training through a mobile app to help them start and grow their businesses. Their approach to designing Lucy has always been very customer centric. They spent time understanding the needs and situation of Foreign domestic workers (FDW) which revealed a set of key insights. Those include that FDWs: send the majority of their earnings back home, have limited access to fairly priced formal financial services and no access to formal credit. In addition to its intended use case (FDWs using Lucy to send money home), the app has also generated several unintended use cases since its launch. Read more in the Lucy case study.