Bangladesh has rapidly reduced poverty in recent years in large part thanks to policies that focus on financial inclusion, infrastructure, and social security. However, with a widening financial inclusion gender gap, it is imperative to address the barriers women face in order to prevent women from being left further behind in Bangladesh’s growing economy.


Strong economic growth with 6.5% GDP growth over last 5 years, driven by Ready-made garment sector, remittances, and agriculture

8th MostPopulous Nation

Young population(65% <35 years old)

Rural population(68%)

Low female labor force representation


76% (79% of women) live below $2.50 / day

High migrant population, likely because of natural disasters & poverty

Improvement in financialinclusion from 31% to


However, gender gap haswidened1 from 7% to


Only 36% ofwomen have anaccount comparedto 65% of men

Even among those with a financialaccount, usage is limited2

41.3 MM Unbanked/Underbanked Women

37MM (64%) unbanked adult women

4.3MM (21%) underserved adult women

High phone penetration


mobile subscribers



registered and 20MMmobile money accounts

However, usage remains low

Only 5% of women with registered mobile money accounts actively use it (vs. 15% of men), and 70% are OTC transactions

Financial ServiceProviders

Microfinance institutions have pioneered financial inclusion in Bangladesh, particularly in rural areas, and have about 20 million customers, 90% of whom are women Mobile financial services is dominated by 2 players, bKash and DBBL, and remains bank-led Lack of a digital ecosystem (e.g., payments system) will restrict growth of FinTechs


National Financial Inclusion Strategy2019-2024 drafted, and expected to havea focus on women and youth Focus on digitization (Digital Bangladesh);salaries and government-to-person (G2P)payments are disbursed via mobile financialservices (MFS) Regulatory structure inhibits growth ofMFS — offerings must be bank-led and nomandated interoperability

37MM women (64%) remain unbanked and 4.3MM women have accounts that have not been used in the last 12 months



Partner with existing providers of G2P, salarydisbursements and MFIs that serve women todeepen engagement with existing formalfinancial solutions


Partner with over-the-counter service providers (e.g., remittances) to drive customer acquisition and deepen access to mobile financial services

Bangladesh has made striking economic progress but there’s much more to do with a specific gender lens. By securing partnerships and designing solutions to meet women’s specific needs, Women’s World Banking aims to reverse the growing gender gap to help build a more inclusive economy.

1. World Bank Findex 2017 Data2. World Bank Findex 2017 Data