Traditionally, women are financially excluded and there is a persistent gap between men and women when it comes to financial access. This phenomena is not only limited to a certain region but such issues are prevalent all over the world. Reasons often cited for such disparity are listed as lower levels of education and income, lack of collateral, legal, time and mobility constraints as well as cultural constraints and an overall lack of gender parity, just to mention a few.
Even though there are a variety of organizations working to improve financial access for women all over the world, yet results have been less than satisfactory so far. To better align our efforts it would be better if we could formulate a policy guide line suggested below that would go a long way in ensuring that women can participate in the economy without facing constraints and barriers limiting their success.
- To start off there is a great need to build awareness regarding the financial needs of women in different market segments. More often than not the policy makers, stakeholders and even the women leaders are not aware of the significance of women’s financial inclusion.
- There is a great need to formulate, modify and adjust existing regulatory framework and laws to ensure greater financial inclusion of women. Plus, creating awareness regarding existing laws that are serving as a hindrance to greater financial inclusion for women.
- Strengthening consumer protection particularly for women that not only addresses their concerns but also ensures greater outreach is possible.
- Ensure greater investment in programs that make it a priority to educate women on their rights as a financial consumer.
- Greater emphasis has to be put on collection of gender disaggregated data and its analysis in order to find out information gaps vital for greater financial inclusion of women.
These basic but vital policy initiatives will only be useful if they are put in practice to ensure that the journey towards greater financial inclusion for women is a distinct possibility rather than a distant dream.