Policy Diagnostic: Rural Women and Financial Inclusion

October 27, 2023

Financial inclusion is not an end in itself, but an enabler of other positive financial, economic and social outcomes for groups historically excluded from financial and other services. This diagnostic focuses specifically on women’s financial inclusion in rural areas, including demand-side challenges and customer needs often experienced by women more than men. We complement this needs assessment with a perspective on the supply-side opportunity to increase attention on rural women.

This diagnostic relies on a review of secondary sources while also drawing on primary research and best practices gained through Women’s World Banking’s experience related to the following questions and sub-questions:

  1. How do women in rural areas use various financial services?
  2. What are common challenges to financial inclusion in rural areas?
  3. How can policy respond to the needs of rural women?
    a. How can policy create an enabling environment for financial inclusion of rural populations?
    b. What are best practices for policymakers addressing financial inclusion in rural spaces?

In the following brief, we summarize the research on women’s use of financial services in rural settings, barriers to financial services, policymakers’ best practices and possible actions to improve rural financial inclusion for women.