Empowering women is key to poverty reduction and spurring economic development due to their contribution to the social, economic, cultural and political aspects of society.
This empowerment is often measured by access to resources and women’s ability to make decisions on how they are used.
To achieve this the United Nations’ capital investment agency, UNCDF and its partners held a forum on digital financial services for women.
What this conference tried to do is help people better understand lives of women.
Nandini Harihareswara, Regional Specialist at MM4P said, “What this conference tried to do is help people better understand lives of women, strengths of women and how to leverage that in order to improve capturing the opportunity of 50 percent of the population both in terms of acquiring customers which is a huge challenge for our digital financial providers as well as improving their agent network and improving their business in general.”
Despite the strides made to improve financial inclusion, a significant gender gap exists in terms of the quality of access to a bank or mobile money account.
“The world is developing really quickly in terms of the role mobile can play in delivering digital services but we are still finding women to be excluded despite the fact that there is a big demand for it. So the jump between mobile products and serving women’s needs is not necessarily obvious,” said Ahmed Dermish, Ecosystem Specialist, Digital Finance at UNDP.
“This conference has helped me in such a way that we are able to identify most of the challenges that we face in the field like women agents especially. We are faced with lack of support let’s say financially and then maybe the fraud situation and insecurity is faced around,” added Sarah Nambozo, a financial agent.
With women representing 51 per cent of the world’s population, their financial inclusion is viewed as an important pillar to significantly increase global growth, reduce poverty and inequality.