May 24, 2023

Financial Inclusion — the Key to Gender equity?

Financial inclusion, which is defined as having access to relevant and affordable financial products and services, is essential for bridging the gender gap on both an economic and social level. A key facilitator and route to financial growth is the capacity to save, invest, and use financial intermediaries.

For growing savings, income, productivity, and consumption, financial services are essential. According to research, women who have access to financial services like bank accounts are able to save more and achieve financial independence.

This aids in the accomplishment of long-term economic objectives and having access to these services can protect against financial shocks.

Lack of education limits a woman's options in the job market, making it considerably harder for her to acquire employment. Although in some cases, skill sets can be more important than education, this is not always the case. For many women, financial dependence on men becomes inevitable.

According to statistics, women who have access to their own bank accounts and financial autonomy spend more money on healthcare and education. According to a Yale study from 2021, women in India with more bank account access are also 28% more likely to take part in workfare programmes, 13% more likely to have paid employment, and 24% more likely to earn more in the private sector.

Gender parity may be significantly accelerated by women's increased employment and decreased reliance on their significant others for financial support. Additionally, it might have a significant impact on both income equality and global development.

More than most people realise, financial freedom and inclusion play a significant role in society. Some of India's poorest women can be put on a lifelong path of self-sufficiency by an initial "big push" that includes access to financial services, financial education, and some trade products, opening the way for empowered self-identity.

Financial security resulted from the modest businesses these economically independent women founded. Furthermore, in less than two years, these women's average annual wages increased. These revenues were put back into their companies, which is an encouraging start in the direction of prosperity and more gender equality.

Financial inclusion not only significantly reduces poverty but also challenges gender conventions and helps to liberalise perceptions of women's job.

From this sociocultural web that exerts enforced control over their income and lifestyles, financial inclusion may help women advance to positions of power. Women's status can be improved and set on a path to social empowerment through increased education, higher income, greater work, and, ultimately, self-sufficiency. This is essential for destroying the patriarchal mindset.

It is frustratingly perplexing that there is still a battle to be won in favour of gender equality well into the third decade of the twenty-first century. Lack of opportunity for millions of women is a significant obstacle to global growth. We may only require financial inclusion to remove this obstacle.


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