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How might technology help narrow the financial inclusion gap between men and women?

Monetary innovation, including the utilization of elective information to produce FICO ratings, has empowered numerous underserved clients all throughout the planet to get to monetary administrations interestingly.

In any case, to guarantee that ladies advantage, legislatures, monetary specialist organizations, and the improvement local area should consider “what information are being gathered and how those information [falling] … along sexual orientation lines could accidentally or purposefully affect ladies’ admittance to credit,” said Sonja Kelly, worldwide lead for research at Women’s World Banking, a not-for-profit zeroed in on monetary incorporation for ladies.

Women are more likely than men to lack credit history information. They are also less likely to own mobile phones or smartphones, meaning they might not see as much benefit from alternative credit scoring algorithms that rely on these devices. The mobile gender gap is just one example of how women could have either the most to gain or the most to lose as digital tools open up new opportunities for access to credit.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the use of digital financial services, experts told Devex that advancements in financial technology will not yield the same benefits for women as they do for men without intentionality — and partnership — between financial service providers and the global development community.

The gender gap is of course not the only global disparity in terms of access to and usage of financial services—for example, rural and low-income populations are often underserved by formal financial service providers compared with their more urban and wealthier counterparts. (You can learn more about financial inclusion among these underserved groups across different economic, political, and geographic contexts in the 2015 FDIP Report and Scorecard.) Indeed, in 2014 the gap between account ownership among the poorest 40 percent of households in developing economies and the richest 60 percent of households in developing economies was about five percentage points higher than the gender gap in developing economies.

However, as noted by the Global Findex, the global financial inclusion gender gap remained essentially static from 2011 to 2014, while the financial inclusion income gap was reduced by several percentage points. Additionally, the increase in ownership of formal accounts among the poorest 40 percent of households in developing economies was slightly higher proportionately than the increase in ownership of formal accounts among women in developing economies over the same period. In short, the gender gap is particularly noteworthy for its persistence over time and for the broad scope of the underserved population it represents.

Investing in women and girls should be a shared priority across public and private sector stakeholders given the economic and civic implications of female participation in the formal financial ecosystem. From a micro perspective, having convenient access to a suite of quality financial services enables women to invest in themselves, in their families, and in their communities by saving for the future, paying for educational and health expenses, putting money toward small businesses, and engaging in other productive financial activities. Participants at the roundtable noted that a less tangible—but no less valuable—outcome of facilitating access to and usage of formal financial services among women is the sense of empowerment many women feel when they are equipped with greater control of their finances.

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