It is well known that social norms take a very long time to change naturally. We have previously discussed how social norms have kept women financially excluded, and how this is still the case in many countries.
However, Fintech has arrived with innovations and opportunities that can kickstart and speed up this change. The new services and technologies have the power to achieve greater financial access, independence, and freedom among billions of women who need it.
Financial inclusion for Women through Fintech
What can Financial Inclusion Do For Women?
Women become more empowered economically when they have greater access to financial services. We will be encouraging them to save, spend, take out loans, and build toward their futures. These are all factors that will also strengthen the economy.
Financial inclusion also helps women in the development of a better psychological state. It does so by enhancing their self-worth, financial independence, and the right to control their lives.
Fintech Companies are Taking the Lead
Several start-ups and companies are already taking steps to include women financially. They do so by supporting female entrepreneurs and providing them with the necessary training:
- FemTechGlobal is a network founded by Ghela Boskovich with the aim of improving inclusiveness and diversity in Financial Services.
- Being labelled as one of the top 50 Most Influential Women in the Middle East Finance, the Emirati superwoman Raja Al Mazrouei launched AccelerateHer – a female-focused career mentorship accelerator developed “with the aim to equip young aspiring executives with the necessary tools and experience to broaden their knowledge and reach in the industry, and play a more active role in shaping the future of the financial landscape”.
- Some fintech startups such as MamaMoni are also promoting micro-entrepreneurship in order to integrate women in the economic cycles and encourage them to start their own businesses. They do so by offering differential financial solutions and low-interest microcredit, as well as giving out loans to small-to-medium businesses.
- Another African fintech company uses technology to help fund education for girls through the aggregation of data and profiling of clients. The data gives them access to the student’s family info and attendance, and helps them identify girls who are at risk of dropping out school. They would then release funds to help prevent this from occurring.
- A start-up in India gave low-literacy women a user friendly digital platform. By doing so, they don’t have to rely on text and western iconography. Another start-up came up with the solution to the same issue by offering “voice-based” platforms.
This serves to show how fintech companies have the advantage over banks. They have the ability to customize their platforms, using AI, to cater to the requirements of their users.
Women are Not Just Beneficiaries
Fintech innovations are disrupting the global financial services industry rapidly. It has been filling gaps that traditional financial service providers have not been able to fill. Fintech has enabled the development of products in various economic sectors that people use in their daily lives. This even includes sectors such as energy, agriculture, health, and education.
While the benefits of fintech for women have been receiving increased attention, it is important to keep in mind that women and girls are not just “beneficiaries” of innovation. They have the power to enable change and create further digital innovations that serve larger communities and economies.
- Female founders are disrupting markets as well; they are targeting people who have not traditionally benefited from digital technology. This is why it is incredibly important to further reduce gender disparities in fintech on all levels.
- There has been an increased number of venture capitalists wanting to invest in women. But that is only a recent shift in thinking that has yet to be further reinforced.
- According to a Harvard Business Review study, women reinvest 90 percent of their earnings from emerging markets into human resources like education, nutrition, and health. In contrast, men only invest 40% of their earnings.
- Other studies have shown that women who take on senior roles tend to have greater earning potential than companies who do not have women in leadership positions.
- The world’s GDP would rise by around $28 trillion by 2025 if women were to become on the same level as men financially. If acted on properly, this would push the global economy to new heights post-Covid.
Makoi believes that biases and traditional ideologies are still rooted deeply. In reality, however, “female founders are some of the most committed, focused, and passionate people in the innovation ecosystem.”
Women’s Empowerment and Purpl’s Mission
With the meteoric pace in the transformation of payments and fintech industries, it is critical that the same happens with equal and inclusive representation of women in these industries.
Purpl’s mission is to empower, connect, and enable financial access to all – making our services available to absolutely anyone. We purposely decided that Purpl’s avatar will be an empowered woman, and we strive to raise awareness on financial inclusion and literacy amongst our users.
Written by: Maria Sawaya