It is common knowledge that women contribute meaningfully to the economic prosperity of any nation, whether as business leaders, employees, consumers, or entrepreneurs. Sadly, women have generally continued to receive the short end of the stick, when it comes to financial inclusion.
According to a 2020 report by EFInA, there is a significant difference between the number of men and women who have access to financial services. The figure shows that out of the banked population, 56% of men have access compared to 45% of women, showing an 11.5% gap.
Several factors can be attributed to the gap, ranging from social-economic barriers to cultural hindrances. More women are less educated, have no collateral to access loans for their business, are unevenly paid for the same work as their male counterparts and in some cases spend more on the household, therefore, often have less to save. Consequently, there continues to be an imbalance in financial inclusion.
It is on this note that Nigeria’s one of the leading payment service banks, 9 Payment Service Bank (9PSB) is beaming the light on women’s financial inclusion to mark this year’s International Women’s Day. With a visual storytelling aid, the bank is raising awareness of the need to close the gender finance gap by supporting gender equality in access to finance and financial services.
According to the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Branka Mracajac,
Providing access to our agent network across the country is a key part of our strategy and ensuring that this strategy addresses women’s needs – in response to statistics that show they are the more disenfranchised group – is for us a mandate that drives our day-to-day activities.
She noted that, for this to be successful, there is the need to provide a financial literacy and enlightenment strategy that speaks to an average Nigerian in unserved and underserved rural areas of the country. Speaking further she said,
While executing & delivering on financial inclusion, we need to have in mind the needs of its beneficiaries, the targeted end-users of the financial services who are currently underserved, and the only sustainable way is to do this is to ensure that solutions address the specific needs of, for instance, a farmer in Benue, the market woman in Onitsha, a trader in Kano, fisherman in Delta, and the woman selling ofada rice in Ogun State.
Speaking further on 9PSB’s deliberate policy drive to increase the number of women entrepreneurs, the Executive Director, Finance & Banking Operations, Nasiru Isyaku, noted that the women on the 9PSB Agent network have the opportunity to earn an income, thereby guaranteeing more, their freedom of choice. According to him,
We are strategic with our Agent network, which primarily is critical for us to reach all nooks and crannies of the country. Our female Agents are doing incredibly well running their 9PSB stores and are steadily making great impact in ensuring access for all. With our suite of best-in-class, customized technology solutions they can access and deliver on the brand promise backed by competitive pricing, assurance of daily settlement and income tracking.
Speaking also, the Head, Marketing Communications and Customer Experience, 9PSB, Olushola Ogunyemi, remarked that women contribute significantly to the economic prosperity of any nation and should be encouraged to attain their full financial potential.
He said, “At 9PSB, our mandate is to ensure that everyone, irrespective of who they are, where they live or their gender, can access financial services seamlessly. Therefore, the campaign theme #BreaktheBias is quite germane for us as a bank, to lend our voice in encouraging the participation of more women in economic activity. And more importantly, it ties into our commitment to drive financial inclusion for all as we continue on our quest to be the community dweller’s favourite bank.”
International Women’s Day is a global day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women, while also calling to action all concerned parties to create space for, and accelerate gender parity.