Knowledge and Communications Manager Maura Hart shares stories of five women and the success they achieved through access to basic financial services.

Last month, the World Bank released new data about how adults around the world use formal financial services. The good news: the number of people with a bank account grew by 700 million worldwide from 2011 to 2014. The bad news: of the remaining 2 billion people without a bank account, women are still disproportionately underserved. The gender gap of 7 percentage points did not budge from 2011 to 2014.

This data shows that low-income women around the world are still not accessing the financial tools and resources they require to build security and prosperity. In many cases, barriers are cultural with men controlling the family’s savings accounts and loans even though women are more likely to manage the household budget and make financial decisions. In other cases, especially in low-income communities, women can’t reach banks because they live in remote areas or can’t access loans in their name because banks don’t recognize the value of their businesses and don’t have the necessary collateral.

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