The majority of the world’s unbanked population are women. The World Bank puts that at over 1.1 billion women globally – a staggering number. Fintech will change the lives of unbanked people, but it is not a panacea: Technology solves one issue, only to reveal others, and unless we are realistic about the problems it will not tackle, we can never safely say what it can achieve.
The industry can help promote financial inclusion, particularly for women. But challenges remain on both the industry and client sides. Here are the most significant ways fintech can enable women, and the most pressing challenges it will reveal.
Access to a bank account has significance besides the financial services it provides: It brings social stability, status, and a sense of personal dignity. Women’s World Banking, an organisation dedicated to enhance female financial inclusion globally, states that financial exclusion is particularly harmful for women, since it compounds other structural inequalities; financially unbanked men still have some social privileges, unbanked women do not.