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Advancing Financial Inclusion Through Gender Equality

In the evolving landscape of financial inclusion, where discussions often revolve around technological advancements, regulatory frameworks, and operational challenges, one crucial aspect often gets overlooked—the intersectionality of gender. Access to financial systems can serve as a powerful catalyst for unlocking opportunities, particularly for women. In fact, financial inclusion is a cornerstone of women's economic empowerment, enabling them to navigate challenges, build resilience, and seize opportunities for socio-economic advancement.

Identifying Barriers to Inclusion:

Unfortunately, there are many barriers hindering women's access to and utilization of financial services. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the account ownership gender gap for the region is twice the developing economy average, at 12 percentage points, according to the World Bank. From limited access to identification and digital tools to entrenched social norms and historical biases within financial systems, the challenges faced by women worldwide are multifaceted.

Addressing Systemic Challenges:

Pivotal for addressing these barriers and achieving gender equality are digital public infrastructures with inclusive instant payment systems. By ensuring access to financial services and facilitating real-time payments, these infrastructures empower women economically. With the ability to participate in digital transactions and receive instant payments, women can overcome barriers such as distance and mobility constraints, leading to greater financial autonomy and inclusion.

Additionally, these systems can enable women entrepreneurs to access markets, manage cash flow efficiently, and grow their businesses. Ultimately, digital public infrastructures with inclusive instant payment systems play a crucial role in leveling the playing field and advancing gender equality by providing women with the tools and opportunities they need to thrive in the digital economy.

Foundation for Creating Accessible and Equitable Digital Platforms

At the core of digital public infrastructures are open source digital public goods (DPGs). DPGs are defined by the Digital Public Goods Alliance (DPGA) as “open-source software, open data, open AI models, open standards, and open content.” DPGs are one of the foundations for creating accessible and equitable digital public infrastructures that cater to the needs of diverse communities, including women.  For example, a DPG can enable various digital financial service providers to link up with each other cost-effectively to address the digital financial needs of underserved people, empowering women to fully participate in the digital economy.

By championing openness, collaboration, and inclusivity, DPGs pave the way for a more equitable and prosperous future where every woman has the opportunity to thrive in the digital age. Moreover, DPGs foster a culture of empowerment and participation, enabling women to actively engage in the development and customization of digital tools and services that align with their needs and preferences. This involvement not only promotes ownership and agency but also contributes to the creation of solutions that are more user-centric and effective in addressing gender inequalities.

A Call to Action:

Achieving gender equality in financial inclusion isn't just about leveling the playing field—it's about unlocking untapped potential and driving sustainable socio-economic progress for all. As we continue on this journey towards inclusivity, let us redouble our efforts to create a future where financial inclusion knows no gender boundaries—one where every individual, regardless of gender, has the opportunity to thrive.



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Paula Hunter

Paula Hunter

Executive Director

Mojaloop Foundation

Member since

07 Mar



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This post is from a series of posts in the group:

Financial Inclusion

The financial services industry has much to contribute to the UN and World Bank goal of full financial inclusion by 2020. This group will focus on industry contributions, ideas, barriers and enablers.

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