How Financial Inclusion Empowers Women and Boosts Economic Growth

According to a new report by The World Bank, today approximately 2 billion adults around the world don’t own a bank account. The reasons for this are various, including the lack of access to banking services in some parts of the world, customers’ poor credit rating, hefty minimum balance requirements and lack of address proof, to name just a few.

As stated in the report, the situation has been improving, as the number of underbanked people has dropped by 700 million since 2011. However, there’s still one problem that persists and that is the stagnant gender gap for bank account holders.

Globally, 65 percent of men reported having an account in 2014, while only 58 percent of women did. Although financial inclusion had increased by 13 percent for both gender groups in the last three years, the gap remained the same at 7 percent. With that, the report found that 1.1 billion women still have no access to the financial system.

Financial inclusion has been broadly recognised as critical in reducing poverty and achieving inclusive economic growth, the study says. There is growing evidence that financial inclusion has substantial benefits for individuals – people are better able to start and expand businesses, invest in education, manage risks and absorb financial shocks. The research also suggests that access to accounts and to savings and payment mechanisms increases savings, empowers women, and boosts productive investment and consumption.

The Wall Street Journal argues that financial inclusion for women is particularly important because it not only empowers them, but gives them a safe place outside their home to keep money. Not to mention that privacy and control over their finances has significant welfare effects.

The benefits go beyond individuals. Greater access to financial services for both individuals and firms may help reduce income inequality and accelerate economic growth.

Monese will be a part of that change, providing safe and convenient digital banking services regardless of one’s financial circumstances. We strongly believe a secure and easy-to-access banking account is everyone’s human right. Launching in the UK this summer, we are able to offer our services to all EU residents, but our goal is to expand beyond any residency restrictions. Make sure you have signed up for our invite at www.monese.com.

Sources:
The Wall Street Journal
The World Bank

Image:
Flickr / lisainglasses

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