Maura Hart, Manager, Knowledge and Communications, guest blogged on Ericsson’s Mobile Financial Services blog in honor of International Women’s Day.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day 2016, more than one billion women around the world do not have access to formal financial services. Tools that you and I take for granted are not available to these women—a savings account, access to an ATM or even a bank branch.
Women’s World Banking’s research in developing countries around the world has shown that women are inherent savers, managing to save on average 10 to 15 percent of their earnings despite low and often unpredictable incomes. However, low-income women face many barriers to accessing a safe place to save—traveling long distances to bank branches is difficult and costly and many don’t have formal identification or basic financial literacy needed to open accounts. They are forced to save in less reliable ways: at home in a drawer or under a mattress, by buying excess stock for their businesses or through a neighborhood savings club.
Financial services must be designed to help women overcome these longstanding barriers and digital technology holds the promise to make this possible. Using digital technology to deliver financial services offers accessibility, convenience, privacy and security through new channels such as mobile phones and retail agents.