Feminist and Gender-Transformative Financial Inclusion
Financial exclusion is considered one of the key barriers to women's economic empowerment and gender equality in developing country contexts. A significant proportion of the female global workforce earn their livelihood in the informal economy and as self-employed entrepreneurs. Despite decades of programming to provide these groups with access to financial capital, products and services (e.g. microfinance, savings accounts, mobile banking or investment in women-owned businesses), gender gaps persist in women's share in labor force participation, income and decent employment. Furthermore, research into the wider empowerment potential of financial inclusion programs frequently finds that such impacts are either negligible or debatable. New research points to the of potential of feminist and gender-transformative approaches to financial inclusion that go beyond promoting individual's access to financial capital, products and services, to also tackle the root causes of social and economic inequality – namely, discriminatory laws and social norms, women's unequal care burden, gender-based violence at home and in the workplace, and lack of gender-responsive public services and infrastructure.
This 2-hour webinar covered state of the art research on financial inclusion. A diverse panel of experts from the worlds of research, policy and practice discussed contemporary challenges and opportunities for adopting feminist and gender-transformative approaches to financial inclusion.
- Kate Grantham (McGill University) (Facilitator)
- Martha Melesse (International Development Research Centre)
- Anne-Marie Lévesque (FinDev Canada)
- Edward Jackson (E.T. Jackson and Associates Ltd.)
Suggested readings on this topic:
- Vossenberg, S., Rappoldt, A. and J. D'anjou. (2018) "Beyond Access: Exploring Gender-Transformative Approaches to Financial Inclusion." International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada.
- Grantham, K., Stefov, D. and R. Tiessen. (2019). "A Feminist Approach to Women's Economic Empowerment." Oxfam Canada, Ottawa, Canada.
- Banerjee, A., Duflo, E., Glennerster, R. and C. Kinnan. (2015). "The Miracle of Microfinance? Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 7(1):22-53.
- Holvoet, N. (2006). The Differential Impact on Gender Relations of 'Transformatory' and 'Instrumentalist' Women's Group Intermediation in Microfinance Schemes: A Case Study for Rural South India. Journal of International Women's Studies, 7(4): 6-50.
- MacLeod, E. (2018). "Mapping Gender Lens Investing in the Global South: Ghana, Kenya, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam." World University Service Canada, Ottawa, Canada.