Women: The Unbanked “CFOs”
Thursday, March 12, 2015
There are 2.5 billion in the world without a bank account. That number is familiar and been reported widely. What’s lesser known is that a majority of those 2.5 billion unbanked people are women.
And that presents a problem not only for the women who, themselves, are unbanked, but for their families and the economies of the towns and villages they inhabit.
“Women tend to be the CFOs in the household in the emerging markets around the world,” Douglas Sabo, Visa’s Head of Global Corporate Philanthropy, noted at an International Women’s Day Conference last week in D.C. “They are the ones who have to figure out how to make the daily financial transactions work — when money is coming in from a microloan, a government subsidy, when money needs to go out to put food on the table, to pay for school fees, to fix a roof,” Sabo added. “So they are bearing the brunt of the cost of a household being unbanked.”
Visa has partnered with companies in Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Southeast Asia and Latin America to try to change that. It includes a number of things designed to deliver credit and banking technologies to women in these regions, including access to mobile phones, which are an important part of that financial lifeline. In these emerging economies, more men than women are likely to own a phone.
As promising as this initiative is, and as more private and public partnerships flourish, more women are being reached. But, still, gaps exist — both in urban and rural areas.
The Mobile Money Gap: Where Are The Unbanked And Why Are Most Women?
GSMA reported that many studies on the subject of mobile money show that most don’t know what type or region (rural/urban) their customers live in, or if they are men or women. This appears to be a gap for women, as it suggests that some mobile money carriers are still unaware of where the gaps are.