Climate Change & Women’s Financial Inclusion

September 15, 2023

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By 2050, climate change effects are expected to cause the internal displacement of 216 million people (IOM, 2023); sea level rise of multiple feet and associated flooding in New York City and other global coastal cities (Oppenheimer et al., 2019; NY DEC, n.d.); and water stress for more than 70% of the world’s population (FAO, 2021), among other social, economic and environmental impacts. In other words, climate change effects will financially impact nearly everyone in the coming decades.

Financial services providers (FSPs), policymakers, the donor community and think tanks are increasingly interested in how women’s financial inclusion can increase individual or household-level resilience to the impacts of climate change. While the scientific community has developed a strong body of evidence quantifying the impacts of climate change on the environment, and the disproportionate effects on historically marginalized groups, including women, there is still a large gap in the evidence base on how climate change will impact individual-level finances and financial health among low-income women, households and small businesses (Miller, Krishnan & Ruiz, 2023; Notta & Zetterli, 2023; UNSGSA, 2023).

As an organization specifically focused on pursuing women’s economic security and prosperity, Women’s World Banking is eager to help close this gap and identify evidence of climate realities specific to low-income women. Our aim is to, support women as they adapt their financial lives in the face of these of these climate-related impacts and advocate for a gender lens in financial services design and delivery—as well as in conversations, investments, grants and policy-related to climate change and its economic impacts.

This research agenda articulates four opportunities to close the evidence gap on the impacts of climate change to women’s financial inclusion, and highlights key actors, topics and financial products and channels that can enable greater financial resilience amidst climate impacts on women.