Photo credit: Women in South Asia/iStock
2019-03-06

Achieving the ultimate goal of gender balance with DFS

By Thunes

In conjunction with International Women’s Day on 8 March, 2019, AFI is publishing a series of blog posts throughout the week including contributions from our donors and private sector partners. Join us in embracing innovative ways to advance gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.

For this year’s International Women’s Day, it’s all about #BalanceforBetter. An AFI Public-Private Dialogue (PPD) partner, Thunes has the ultimate goal of making financial services accessible to everyone around the world — and gender balance is a key focus.

Why is gender balance essential? Economies and communities rely on gender balance to thrive, and conscientious care needs to be taken when delivering digital financial services (DFS) for women in a manner, which is both accessible and easy to use. The key to success in financially empowering women is through gathering data, analyzing insights, and continuously crafting effective strategies to engage and include women.

Diving deeper into the demographic of women reveals crucial insights that should be taken into account. These insights include behavioural trends of female remittance beneficiaries, determining how women receive payments, and spending behaviors. The aim is to combine these insights with barriers and challenges faced by women when it comes to access and usage of financial services.

We at Thunes, have contributed to the advancement of financial services for women within the scope of the Denarau Action Plan that promotes public-private cooperation to increase women’s access to quality and affordable financial services globally — bridging the financial inclusion gender gap.

We have also been working in collaboration with the United Nations Capital Development Fund’s (UNCDF) Shaping Inclusive Finance Transformations (SHIFT) programme to improve women’s access to remittances in CLMV countries (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam). The goal is to build the largest, most available, most accessible, and most affordable remittance touchpoint network in the region (comprising 75,000+ touchpoints).

Through our work so far, we have seen that of the remittances sent to the CMLV region, a healthy 60 percent of those beneficiaries are women. This high percentage has been attained through educating women on legal channels, offering multiple receiving partners of closer proximity, and providing capital and expertise for product development bespoke to women for our receiving partners.

From our experience, we’ve seen that it is feasible for DFS to deliver on its promises to accelerate access to and usage of financial services for women. To ensure success, there is an imperative need for close evaluation and rounds of trial and error before the industry can confidently say that our objective for gender balance has been fully met.

 

Discover experiences from AFI member countries on innovative cross-border remittances.