A new report by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA) has unravelled the reasons for the gender gap in financial access in Nigeria.
Women have often spoken out against the difficulty they face when seeking financial support, as the odds are usually against them. According to the report by CBN and EFInA, Nigerian women are more likely than men to be financially excluded.
The report titled, ‘The Assessment of Women’s Financial Inclusion in Nigeria’ was jointly carried out by EFInA and the CBN’s Financial Inclusion Secretariat in 2019, combined with expert interviews and human-centred design research. It was carried out this year.
Reasons women are financially excluded: In the report received by Nairametrics, it was disclosed that levels of income, education, and trust in financial services are some of the factors limiting women’s access to finance.
The statement also stated that the location of residence also plays a part. As explained, women residing in the North and rural areas are likely to be excluded while women in the South or living in urban areas are more likely to be included. It was also reported by the CBN and the EFInA that due to women’s role in family affairs, staying at home more than guys to cater for the family, the female gender hardly has the time to seek for financial opportunities.
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The report stated that, “Women who own mobile phones are more likely to be financially included than those who do not. Women who are married are more likely to be financially included than those who are single (never married). And women in the youngest and oldest age groups are more likely to be financially included than younger or older women.”
It added that, “With more caring responsibilities than men, women are often time-poor. And while women may make day-to-day financial decisions on behalf of the household, men are more likely to be perceived as being responsible for major household decisions.”
Speaking on the rising gap in financial access, CBN’s Deputy Governor for Financial System Stability, Aishah 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.”
Reasons for gender gap shocking: According to Joseph Attah, the Head of Financial Inclusion Secretariat, CBN, the reason they expected for the gender gap wasn’t what they discovered. He pointed out cultural issues and religion as reasons being expected, but religion wasn’t a factor after the findings.
“What we thought would be the contributing factors to the gender gap in financial inclusion were things like religious and cultural issues but eventually when the results came out, we found lack of education, low income and lack of trust in financial service providers were more prominent.”