Pakistan’s severe gender inequality in the banked population may soon change with the country’s growing awareness of the need of promoting gender equality.
The Covid-19 epidemic has profoundly altered our way of life, resulting in two-year-long lockdowns in several nations. As everyone tried to adapt, the impoverished and those without access to financial facilities were impacted the hardest. In Pakistan, 91 percent of the population was unbanked, making it more difficult for low-income individuals to save, borrow, transfer money, or even establish a company. The epidemic has illuminated the significance of financial inclusion, which comprises a variety of services ranging from basic banking to pensions, credit, and insurance.
Technology plays an important role in fostering financial inclusion. In Pakistan, Raast, a person-to-person mobile payment service, has enrolled close to 15 million customers who have conducted transactions totaling Rs 100 billion. Nonetheless, the gender gap in financial inclusion must be addressed, since women are disproportionately affected. According to Jameel Ahmed, Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, just one woman has access to a bank account for every three males. This discrepancy may be remedied with gender-conscious techniques and goods.
Financial inclusion may benefit women on three levels: as entrepreneurs in fintech, as professionals at fintechs or other financial institutions, and as users. Fintechs play an important role in bringing more women into the banking system. Women entrepreneurs are gradually entering the fintech industry, with Tez Finance and Oraan paving the way. Tez Financial, created by Naureen Hyat, offers nano-loans to the unbanked masses disregarded by traditional banks, using smartphone data, purchase habits, and social behaviour to determine the most suitable solution for their requirements. Halima Iqbal created Oraan, which focuses on savings, insurance, and savings products utilising the Rotating Savings and Credit Association (ROSCA) concept.
Financial inclusion is crucial for eliminating poverty and improving life, particularly for poorer women. When a woman establishes an account, she utilises it to develop her savings, invest in her children’s education, and make long-term business investments. It puts her on the road to more financial stability, privacy, and autonomy. According to the Global Market Intelligence Quantamental Research Team at S&P, enterprises with female CEOs and CFOs saw stock market growth and increased profitability. In fintech, gender-inclusive methods and solutions may enable women to take charge of their money and provide them the tools they need to succeed.
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