Women’s Financial Inclusion: What the Gallup World Poll Tells Us

Friday, March 2, 2018

There is enthusiasm within the financial inclusion community around mobile money’s potential to help women overcome the challenges they face when accessing and using financial services, particularly those related to mobility, time, safety and privacy. Yet limited global access to mobile phones has been seen as one of the biggest obstacles preventing women from benefiting from mobile money. Estimates on access to mobile technology vary depending on measurements used (i.e. subscribers, mobile phone owners or users). Based on unique subscriber data, GSMA estimates that 1.7 billion women in low- and middle-income countries do not own a mobile phone.

Recently released data from the 2016 Gallup World Poll paints an updated picture of women’s phone ownership across more than 140 economies and 97 percent of the world’s adult population. This new data shows that, in fact, 81 percent of women worldwide own a mobile phone, with women’s ownership rate in the developing world as high as 80 percent. While these high rates may come as a surprise, the data does confirm that there is a significant gender gap in mobile phone ownership. It shows a 7 percentage point lag in women’s phone ownership in the developing world, which translates into roughly 190 million women.

Photo courtesy of WorldFish.

Source: CGAP (link opens in a new window)

financial inclusion, fintech, gender equality, global development