Part Two: Barriers and Drivers of Financially Including Women
In last week’s post, we discussed the barriers women face when accessing mobile money services. There are a lot of positive ways that it affects their life as well. One of the biggest factors is convenience. Mobile money allows them to make transactions without having to spend time and money traveling to the bank, away from their family and other responsibilities. But more importantly, women from low income households do not necessarily feel comfortable using a bank for their financial needs. They see banks as an institute for the wealthy and educated, not for people who can only afford to deposit small amounts of money or may not be literate enough to understand the banking options available. The lack of familiarity with financial institutes can lead them to feel that there is no value in using a bank account or that informal methods are a better option. Mobile money providers must be aware of this by making their services a competitive alternative to using cash or informal methods. For example, another positive factor for women using mobile banking is that it is a safe place to store and save their money. Women feel that using a mobile account is safer than having cash as they are less likely to spend it on unnecessary things, lose it or have it stolen. They also feel that mobile money gives them more privacy to conduct transactions and have more control over their savings and daily expenditure. These factors make mobile money services a good option for women but may not necessarily close the gender gap. Find out why in next week’s article.