Women's Financial Inclusion Community of Practice

Globally, 2 billion people remain unbanked and women lag behind men in terms of access to formal accounts, credit and savings products. The Community of Practice on Women’s Financial Inclusion (COP) provides CGAP facilitated platforms to share experiences, identify key challenges, document and discuss emerging good practices, and solve common problems associated with increasing equitable access to and use of a broad range of financial services.

Our members include researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and donors around the world working on financial inclusion in promoting economic empowerment for women.

The COP’s steering committee consists of a core group of “champions” who guide our goals and strategy, outlined in our charter. Champions also help to implement an overarching work plan of the COP. Working Groups convene by theme and determine how to address knowledge gaps, as well as enhance collaboration among members in assigned themes. The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) facilitates the community of practice.

Read this primer to get answers to frequently asked questions, and learn more about all the different ways that you can engage with our COP. We look forward to your participation!

COP UPDATES
MEMBER PROFILE
Headshot of Nisha Singh
Meet Nisha Singh

Meet Nisha Singh new lead of our COP's working group on Social Norms. Nisha has focused on increasing economic opportunities for women through innovations in programming, and use of technology. She recently wrapped up a peer learning activity on “Shifting Social Norms in the Economy at Scale." Nisha began her journey in development in 2002 in Hyderabad, India working on livelihood financing. Since then she has worked with a range of institutions from CBOs to multi-lateral donors, private sector actors and policy makers on promoting access to finance and market systems development. While at The SEEP Network between 2008 and 2016, Nisha worked on several learning programs that focused on increasing economic opportunities for vulnerable populations. Her work at SEEP focused on supporting industry learning through collaboration and knowledge mobilization. In her new role with the COP, Nisha hopes to work with group members to share their collective knowledge and experience in identifying tools and strategies for shifting gendered social norms to improve economic outcomes for women.

UPCOMING EVENT
Global Savings Groups Conference logo

SG2018 hosted by The Seep Network in Rwanda in May 2018 will offer a platform for attendees to connect, engage and learn from each other about the challenges and opportunities they face in supporting Savings Groups – including VSLAs, SHGs, indigenous savings groups, and other forms of community-based microfinance – worldwide.

SOCIAL MEDIA UPDATE
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In addition to our LinkedIn Group, the COP recently launched a Twitter account to keep our members informed about upcoming webinars, events and publications. Please follow us @WFIChampions.

TOOL

As part of its commitment to support financial inclusion, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) conducts an annual Financial Access Survey (FAS) and provides a global supply-side financial inclusion database. For its 2017 survey round the IMF invited all country members to report the gender breakdown of their commercial banks’ depositors and borrowers. 27 countries provided information on this breakdown from 2004–16.

RESEARCH
Mobile Gender Gap 2018 report cover

This report reveals for the first time the magnitude of the gender gap in mobile internet use across low- and middle-income countries, as well as highlighting the persistent gender disparity in mobile ownership and the barriers to ownership and use. Findings from this report are based on the results of over 25,000 face-to-face surveys commissioned by GSMA Intelligence across 23 low- and middle-income countries, and subsequent modelling and analysis of this survey data.

RESEARCH
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New Research Sheds Light on Women's Intra-household Decision Making Power

Recent research conducted by CGAP, FIBR, and BFA explore how low-income customers acquire pay-as-you-go (PAYGo) solar services and products and how they afford it. In-depth interviews with 138 households in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, and Tanzania explored purchase decisions, assessments of value, and individual cash flow patterns before and after acquiring solar. One finding from the study was that the decision to purchase solar is primarily made by husbands despite the initial protests of their cost-conscious wives. Households often met payments by reducing women’s budgets and purchasing power in the day-to-day household budget.