Women's involvement in economic activities have risen over the years in Bangladesh, according to a concept note for a webinar titled "Gender Gap in Financial Inclusion".
According to the data of World Bank (2021), women's participation in the labor force is 35% in Bangladesh 1. From entrepreneurship to the service sector and the informal sector, women have made key contributions, reads a press release.
Still, women usually manage their money using informal mechanisms, including cash, that may be less safe, less reliable, and more expensive than formal methods.
According to Findex 2021, only 57% women have no formal financial account and 80% women have never opened a mobile money account 2 . However, it has been found that 48 out of 61 banks and 21 out of 35 NBFIs have savings and/or loan products specifically made for women, with most of the institutions focusing on women CMSME entrepreneurs.
Banks such as BRAC, City and Mutual Trust have dedicated wings like Tara, Alo and Angona, respectively, for female beneficiaries. Therefore, it was seen that the popularity of financial products persists for banks that prioritizes women.
Even though the average disbursement of SME loans for women is around 3-4%, some of these banks have achieved double figures.
Evidence suggested that women lag behind men in the access to financial services due to traditional social norms, lack of control over decision making and financial literacy as well.
Against this backdrop, this webinar intends to look into the gaps in addressing the women's need for existing financial products.
In addition, the webinar will explore the areas of intervention for fintech that will be focused on challenges of women in receiving the financial services.