A new research on women’s financial inclusion jointly conducted by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Financial Inclusion Secretariat and Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access says that differences between men and women in education, income and trust in financial service providers contribute to the gender gap in financial access.
This was disclosed during the unveiling of the research at the EFInA Financial Inclusion Conference in Lagos, which was formally launched by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Deputy Governor for Financial System Stability, Aishah Ahmad.
According to the report, Nigerian women were more likely than men to be financially excluded, which meant they did not have access to bank accounts or other financial services. The report found that levels of income, education, and trust in financial service providers were strongly associated with financial inclusion in Nigeria, for both men and women.
Because women in Nigeria tend to have lower levels of income, education, and trust in financial service providers, this contributed strongly to the financial inclusion gender gap, it noted.
It stated that Nigerian women were less likely than Nigerian men to use formal (regulated) financial services such as bank accounts, even when factors such as income, education, and trust in financial service providers were held equal. Ahmad said, “The path to inclusive economic growth is paved with women’s economic empowerment. The gender gap is rising. It is a worrying trend that underscores the importance of this research.
“We need to work with targeted segments and speak to their unique challenges. It requires not incremental thinking, but bold, visionary ideas that will drive transformation.” According to the report on the assessment of women’s financial inclusion in Nigeria, when comparing financially-excluded women with women that use financial services, some other trends emerged. The geographic region a woman lived in was a significant factor influencing her likelihood of using financial services – with women in the South more likely to be included than those in the North.
It noted that a woman’s religion did not influence her likelihood of using financial services. Women who own mobile phones are more likely to be financially- included than those who do not, it added. It also stated that women who were married were more likely to be financially- included than those who were single (never married).