• Monday, March 04, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Digitally included women can bridge the exclusion gap – CEO Women’s World Banking

Digitally included women can bridge the exclusion  gap – CEO Women’s World Banking

Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President/CEO of Women’s World Banking, has said women’s financial inclusion goes beyond financial literacy as more women need to be digitally included as well.

According to her, the importance of digital inclusion for women in achieving true financial empowerment, Also, women’s financial inclusion goes beyond traditional literacy, extending to digital literacy and access to technology

“Financial services have evolved to be largely smartphone-centric, making digital literacy a critical component of women’s financial inclusion.” She said “Merely being financially literate is not sufficient, as a significant percentage of financially excluded women also face digital exclusion,” she said.

A recent survey conducted by Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA) on Access to Financial Services in Nigeria (A2F) in 2023 revealed a notable increase in mobile phone usage.

Read also: Banking on women’s enterprises to break the gender bias

The survey indicated that mobile phone usage has risen to 93 percent, reaching 103 million individuals in 2023, compared to 90 percent in 2020. However, it also noted a 4-percentage point decrease in smartphone usage and a 1-percentage point decrease in feature phone usage.

Iskenderian, during an interview with BusinessDay also emphasised how women are taking up informal financial services but need to let go of formal financial services.

“They recognise the convenience and flexibility of credit of informal services but we still need a commitment to design products women need. She said, “Financial services just make policies and products without exactly finding out what the women need.”

“Banks give smaller loans to women, few products for women, and this should not be because they are the centre of financial services. Women want to keep their money safe not exactly considering their interests,” Iskenderian added.