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14 March 2024

Bangladesh Bank launches Women’s Financial Inclusion Data Dashboard

By Md Nazrul Islam, Director, National Financial Inclusion Strategy Admin. Unit, Bangladesh Bank

Bangladesh Bank has launched a Women’s Financial Inclusion Data (WFID) dashboard, which will provide valuable insight into the state of women’s financial inclusion in the country, and identify opportunities to accelerate progress.

Bangladesh Bank and ConsumerCentriX, with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, have collaborated since 2021 to develop the dashboard, which launched on 6 March 2024. The dashboard encompasses a range of metrics that assess the extent to which individuals and businesses have access to, and use, financial services.

The data collected will track the state of financial inclusion within a specific region or country, identify gaps and challenges, and inform policy decisions aimed at expanding financial access. The dashboard will capture financial inclusion data from banks, financial institutions, CMSMEs (Cottage, Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises), and mobile financial services; presented graphically for ease of understanding.

Financial inclusion stakeholders will now be able to easily track progress, identify trends, and make informed decisions to promote initiatives effectively. The dashboard also presents the women-centric financial inclusion policy initiatives taken by Bangladesh Bank.

Despite progress, a gender gap persists in financial inclusion

Bangladesh has made significant strides in promoting women’s financial inclusion: between 2017 and 2021, the financial gender gap decreased from 29 percent to 20 percent. Many women remain excluded from the formal financial system, however, and the government has implemented various initiatives in response, including projects to address cultural barriers, improve financial literacy, and expand access to financial services in remote areas.

Bangladesh Bank has set targets for banks to increase the number of women beneficiaries of financial services, is implementing different refinance schemes for women, and is leveraging the widespread adoption of mobile phones to expand women’s access to finance.

Initiatives such as women-focused banking services, microfinance programs and targeted policy interventions can play a crucial role in empowering women economically. Setting targets for increasing the number of women beneficiaries, and implementing refinance schemes specifically for women, are similarly helpful.

Overall, while there has been notable progress in advancing women’s financial inclusion in Bangladesh, concerted efforts from government, NGOs, and private sector stakeholders will be needed to ensure that all women have equal access to financial services and opportunities for economic empowerment. The WFID dashboard will be a significant help in this process. Real-time visibility and insight into financial services usage, access, and barriers will make it easier for stakeholders to communicate and collaborate effectively, and will play a crucial part in advancing women’s financial inclusion in Bangladesh.


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