Updated: Oct 7, 2020
Mobile banking is breaking barriers to financial inclusion all over the world, and this form of banking has given women more agency when it comes to providing for herself and her family. The effect of mobile banking on women is numerous and life-changing, but they can differ depending on the country they’re living in.
To give an overview of how mobile banking is helping women take control of their financial futures all over the globe, here are some real-life stories from Africa all the way to South Asia.
When Liberia was hit with the deadly Ebola Virus, one of the groups affected in the country were women traders. Since certain areas were closed off to avoid the spread of the virus, the lockdown meant that businesses could not go on as usual. The women traders could not travel to the capital to buy the products that they needed, and their customers stopped coming to them. As a result, they lost their means of living and their profits dropped considerably.
To help these women traders, UN Women decided to give them a grant to help them during the Ebola crisis. Since movement within the country was limited at that time, the funds were channeled through mobile banking.
The unemployment rate in Haiti is high so to earn money for their families, some Haitians leave the country to get jobs in wealthier countries. Sending money back to the country can be an issue, and money transfer companies charge a lot for these. Through mobile banking, sending money will be easier and cheaper. Haitian women can now provide for their families without the big cost of traditional money transfer.
According to a 2016 study on gender impact of mobile banking, there has been a reduction of poverty in female-led households in Kenya because of the use of mobile money services. While men have more financial institution accounts in Kenya compared to women, the same could not be said for mobile money accounts.
Kenyan women are more known to have mobile money accounts compared to men, and this has benefited women by giving them greater occupational choice. Because of mobile banking, women are given more opportunities to provide for their families.
While more and more people are becoming financially included, the gap in account ownership between men and women has widened in Pakistan. To address this, a microfinance institution made a move to address this issue — they provided a digital payment solution to a professional home beauty service employing women.
These women who are working as beauticians could now make and receive money digitally. Because of mobile banking, this group of Pakistani women no longer have to worry about money being stolen from them because their earnings can now be transmitted to the head office digitally.
Aside from these stories from all over the globe, mobile banking has helped women become financially included by empowering them to make their own financial choices. Not everyone has access to a physical branch of a financial institution, but mobile banking makes sure that the financial services and products reach those in need.
Because of mobile banking, opportunities have open up for women to help herself, her family, and her community. Women taking charge of their financial futures is a step to closing the gender gap.
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