With increasing awareness of the benefits of women’s full financial inclusion across a variety of sectors and stakeholders including international agencies, donors, governments and the private sector, women’s financial inclusion is far from guaranteed. IFC estimates that women-owned businesses have up to US$320 billion in unmet financing needs worldwide. Even with financing needs of women a reality; women are still 15% less likely to have a bank account than men globally, according to the Global Findex .
The key to solving this problem is to first get access to data that outlines women’s access to financial services in a far better way than currently possible. Access to data is crucial as even for the governments to play a strong role in identifying the reasons for inequality and subsequent solutions. This will only be possible once the government has a better idea of supply and demand of financial services by each sex. This information will help them in formulating subsequent policies on financial inclusion and why are the current policies either delivering or failing to deliver respectively?
To be able to build a more gender inclusive financial systems following three steps have to be implemented by the regulators:
First of all the regulatory agencies and banks have to realize that sex- disaggregated data can prove very beneficial in helping to improve the financial inclusion of women. There is a need to ensure that these agencies and banks realize the crucial role that this data can play.
Set-Gender Specific Targets
When formulating future national financial inclusion plans it is important to have specific gender targets to ensure that certain number or portion of women have been reached. This will help in increasing the outreach to women and ultimately ensure that higher targets are achieved.
Incentivize Reporting Requirements
Even those financial institutions and organizations that understand the need for sex-disaggregated data and want to generate more data are often limited by the need to produce other reporting requirements. Efforts to increase reporting on data regarding women would go a long way in helping improve women’s financial inclusion.
In this day and age access to information and more specifically data is not a problem. What often creates problem is the fact that parameters defined for measurement might not be as inclusive as they should be in order to bridge the existing gap between the genders. Therefore, defining what gets measured can help greatly in increasing the financial inclusion of women across the globe.