Closing the Gender Gap in Financial Inclusion through Fintech
While the percentage of women owning an account in Asia and the Pacific increased from 2014 to 2017, the gender gap persists.
According to 2017 data from the Global Findex Database published by the World Bank, women are still less likely than men to own an account at financial institutions (Demirgüç-Kunt et al. 2018). In Asia and the Pacific, this is particularly true for Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, where the gap between the percentage of men and women owning an account is almost 30%. In other subregions, the results seem to vary. Countries in the Southeast Asia and Central Asia subregions show interesting outcomes—data from the Philippines, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), Indonesia, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia show that women are more likely to have accounts than men. In Viet Nam, Thailand, and the Kyrgyz Republic, the gaps seem relatively smaller compared to other countries.
- While the percentage of women owning an account in Asia and the Pacific increased from 2014 to 2017, the gender gap persists.
- For women living in rural areas in developing economies, a number of barriers may hinder them from accessing services at financial institutions: the distance from the bank, having insufficient documents to open a bank account, family or work responsibilities, or the mindset and certain attitudes towards financial institutions.
- Fintech may have a role in bridging the gender gap in financial inclusion. Ease of access and use can increase the formalization of women’s transactions, protecting and educating them against fraud and unfair transactions and empowering them by making them agents of their own financial futures.