Friday, April 3, 2015

How to address the stubborn gender gap in banking across the globe

"Despite Herculean efforts from nonprofits, banks and economists, the gender gap between male and female bank account ownership persists."

With the help of Women’s World Banking, Nigeria’s Diamond Bank 
launched a savings account so women in Nigeria can open 
a savings account using mobile phones. Photograph: Johnny Greig/Alamy
"Women who open a bank account gain greater economic empowerment, save more for things such as health emergencies and their children’s education, and purchase more nutritious food. So says Leora Klapper, a lead economist in the Development Research Group at the World Bank. Yet, while nonprofits, banks, and researchers have made serious strides, the data convincingly (and discouragingly) still shows far fewer women than men own a bank account and far fewer women than men use formal credit."

"The numbers show the truth. The 2011 Global Findex Data (which Klapper co-authored) reports 97% of adults in the United Kingdom possess accounts and equally between men and women. In other developed countries, 90% of men and women possess a bank account. In Nigeria, however, where 33% of adults possess an account, only 26% of account owners are women. Even within the richest 20% of earners in developing countries, a striking 9% gender gap in bank account ownership remains."

Mary Ellen Iskenderian who heads Women’s World Banking, discusses a nonprofit working with banks in developing countries to bridge the gender gap, says part of their work is convincing financial service companies that women are indeed excellent clients. “With small tweaks, specific to design and marketing, banks can easily tailor their products to women,” she says.

Read the full post by DG McCullough here.

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