Financial Inclusion and Women

Increasing women’s financial inclusion is important as women disproportionately experience poverty, stemming from unequal divisions of labor and a lack of control over economic resources. Many women remain dependent upon their husbands, and about one in three married women from developing countries have no control over household spending on major purchases (United Nations, 2015). About one in ten are not consulted about the way their own earnings are spent (United Nations, 2015). In this edition of the newsletter we compile readings on financial literacy, financial inclusion and digital inclusion - with a focus on women.

The newsletter also contains information on jobs shared by Women in Econ & Policy members over WhatsApp. Please continue to share job opportunities with us (over email or on WhatsApp) in order to make the information as accessible as possible.
Financial Literacy
Read this paper on the perception-reality gap in financial literacy, which  studies the impact of demographic and socio-economic attributes on financial literacy among the educated young adults in Kerala. The findings reveal that most respondents tend to overrate their financial literacy by around 50%, with the average respondent only answering 44% of the questions correctly. 
Financial Education for Female Foreign Domestic Workers in Singapore:  With limited financial knowledge and decision-making power, female migrant workers face myriad challenges when making financial decisions.

Researchers evaluated the impact of a financial literacy program for Filipino domestic workers based in Singapore on their financial knowledge, behavior, savings, and remittances. While there was no evidence that being invited to join the program had any impact on financial knowledge or behavior, program invitees reported reductions in self-reported savings, as well as more disagreements with family members over how to spend remittances. 

Read the paper here.

Activating Women Cognitive Abilities: Impact of a Financial Literacy Pilot Program in India: A RCT-based study looking into the effectiveness of financial literacy programs through a two-year long pilot in the Institute for Indian Mother and Child, a non-profit micro-finance institution based near Kolkata. 

Significant impacts are revealed in terms of improvements in saving accumulation and punctuality in the repayment of the loan installments for borrowers belonging to the treated group, compared to the group of borrowers who did not participated to the program.

Read the paper here

The Effectiveness of Financial Literacy Interventions in Improving Financial Literacy among Rural Women in North India: A study conducted by IIM-Ahmedabad with over 2500 women from North India over approximately 2 years. 

They find that financial literacy training is effective in improving financial literacy in the long-term (eighteen months) and the short-term (one to three months). However, the effectiveness varies across the three dimensions of financial literacy  (financial knowledge, financial behaviour and financial attitude).

Read the paper here.

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Financial Inclusion

Women’s Economic Empowerment Through Financial Inclusion: While demand and supply side barriers to women’s financial inclusion remain, this review shows that appropriate financial product design can help overcome some of these barriers. The review is organized by product and presents the existing evidence on the impact of savings, credit, payments, and insurance products on women’s economic empowerment outcomes, as well as the remaining open research questions in each area.  
Patriarchy and sociocultural constraints, chronic poverty, limited access to financial institutions and lack of financial control means women in Pakistan face a litany of injustices. However, women in Pakistan can be empowered via financial inclusion. Asmat Kakar (Social Development Professional & LSE alumnus) explains how projects such as those in Sindh province with the National Rural Support Programme of Community Investment Funds can help. Read here.
In India’s Villages Women SHG members provide vital banking services during the COVID-19 crisis: Read here about the role that bank sakhis (or bank correspondents) who have been trained to provide basic banking services in rural India have play during the pandemic in ensuring banking services reach the vulnerable.
Financial Inclusion and Legal Discrimination against Women: Evidence from Developing Countries: This paper documents and analyzes gender differences in the use of financial services using individual-level data from 98 developing countries. The data, drawn from the Global Financial Inclusion (Global Findex) database, highlight the existence of significant gender gaps in ownership of accounts and usage of savings and credit products. Even after controlling for a host of individual characteristics including income, education, employment status, rural residency and age, gender remains significantly related to usage of financial services. 

Read the paper here.

Digital Inclusion

The Long-Term Effects of Access to Mobile Money in Kenya: In Kenya, IPA worked with researchers to track the economic progress of households as the M-PESA mobile money service expanded over six years. In areas where M-PESA became more accessible, women were more likely to switch from farming to business occupations and to save more. Overall, an estimated 185,000 women changed occupations, and 194,000 households, primarily female-headed households, were lifted above the poverty line.  Read here.
The G20 High-Level Policy Guidelines on Digital Financial Inclusion for Youth, Women and SMEs (HLPGs) provides sets of featured policy options targeting financial inclusion gaps for youth (subject to child protection frameworks where relevant), women and SMEs through digital financial services in order to reach conditions in which all people can live, work and thrive; as well as utilize and share benefits of innovations and digitalization. Read the guidelines here.
Digital Cash Transfers in the time of Covid-19: Opportunities and Considerations for Women’s Inclusion and Empowerment. Read the World Bank brief here

Group Updates

Jobs Shared by Members:
1.The IMF is currently accepting applications for its annual Economist Program (EP).
The EP is a three-year program consisting of two 18-month assignments. It is aimed at talented, recent PhD graduates who are excited by the opportunity to gain operational experience and further develop their macroeconomics expertise, while making a direct and meaningful contribution on a global stage to fostering monetary cooperation, securing financial stability, facilitating international trade, promoting high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reducing poverty. Apply here
2. Research Associate - Smart Metering Evaluation, Haryana - J-PAL South Asia:  (The start date for this position mentions 14th October - we recommend finding out if it is still open before applying). More information here
3. Centre for Civil Society is looking for a full-time Director of CRISP to join their team in an exciting time of organisational growth and development. The Director of CRISP will lead a small and dedicated team to provide the necessary vision, leadership, and skills which will enable the organisation to achieve its larger goal and create societal wealth from the adoption of STEM-based R&D in the public, private, and social sectors of India. (15+ years of experience required). Apply here
4. WaterAid India seeks an experienced development professional who can take the responsibility ensuring that WaterAid work in India is designed to bring about the strategic and transformational changes necessary to achieve sustainable WASH services for all. The incumbent would be responsible for ensuring that WaterAid programmatic, research, and advocacy interventions address the key sector blockages which hold back accelerated progress in the WASH sector. (15+ years of work experience required). More information here.
5. IDInsight is looking to hire an India Operations Associate with 2-4 years of work experience. Apply here
6. Plaksha is looking to hire an Associate/Senior Associate - Outreach
and Admissions
for the undergraduate program, which will launch in 2021. a 21st Century University anchored in technology with an aim to help solve some of the world’s toughest challenges through transformational education. The JD for the job is here. View more open positions here
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