Findings From Findex: Mobile Money Is Driving Financial Inclusion for Women, but More Work Needs to Be Done
By Aramé Awanis, Matt Shanahan
Mobile money continues to be a driving force, transforming the financial inclusion landscape in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Since 2014, mobile money accounts grew by 11 percentage points in developing economies, and by eight percentage points for women. For those without a traditional bank account, mobile money offers a route to financial inclusion that is typically lower cost and easier to access. This can disproportionately benefit women who, because of cultural norms, family responsibilities or structural inequalities such as lower wages or education levels, usually face greater barriers than men to using formal financial services.
However, in 2021 women were 28 per cent less likely than men to own a mobile money account across LMICs. While this is an improvement from 2017 when women were 33 per cent less likely than men to own an account, it still represents a significant gap (Figure 1).
Photo courtesy of Ismael Ferdous.