Accepted paper:

Gender discrimination and access to digital financial services in South Asia

Authors:

Rashmi Arora (University of Bradford)

Paper short abstract:

The gender gap in access and usage of financial services remains pervasive across all the countries in South Asia. In this study using Financial Inclusion Insights Survey, we examine gender discrimination in access to digital financial services in South Asia.

Paper long abstract:

A large literature has identified financial inclusion as an important factor in poverty reduction, inequality and achieving high inclusive economic growth. Several studies have (Park & Mercado 2017) showed that financial inclusion impacts poverty and income inequality and higher levels of financial inclusion lead to lower poverty and income inequality. Latest figures from global findex database reveal that globally the number of adults with account at a financial institution was 51% in 2001 which increased to 64% in 2017. Overall as in 2017, 72% of men and 65% of women had account at financial institution; in developed countries the gap between men and women ownership of accounts is marginal, however in developing countries about 41% of women still do not have access to accounts. The gender gap in access and usage of financial services remains pervasive across all the countries in South Asia. Patriarchal societies, low or absolute lack of women in decision making, low empowerment of women, no voice in the family have been primary factors. In this study using Financial Inclusion Insights Survey, we examine gender discrimination in access to digital financial services in South Asia. This data derived from financial inclusion insights surveys is available only for the years 2013 to 2016 and is mainly available only for three countries in the region - Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan and India to a certain extent.

panel J1
Digital development [paper]