Female entrepreneurs face barriers in accessing financial services due to a number of factors: the lack of access to productive assets that could be used as collateral; time and mobility constraints that affect their ability to interact with financial service providers; lack of trust in financial institutions; gender-biased credit scoring; discriminatory laws and social norms; and gender stereotyping in investment evaluations.
These realities result in a financial services gender gap for women in the least developed countries (LDCs).
A central cause of this is a technology gap. Tech can play an essential role in financial inclusion by serving as the critical tool – notably mobile phones and access to internet – to connect women to financial services and products.
Unfortunately, it is the lack of access to technology that is often a barrier to women’s economic participation and entrepreneurship in the LDCs. This gap – where women are 12% less likely to own a phone than men – ultimately translates into financial disparity.