“The empowered woman is powerful beyond measure and beautiful beyond description.”– Steve Maraboli.
Lagos is not a country. Lagos is not Nigeria. Now that you have digested that, we hope you have some wiggle room for the facts we are about to share.
In reality, Nigeria faces a significant and growing gender gap in financial inclusion. Ours is increasingly wide against comparator countries in Africa such as Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda who all exhibit a decreasing gender gap. While financial inclusion is increasing for both men and women, the gender gap has widened to a sobering level.
A recent report from the World Economic Forum estimates that it will take an extra 36 years to achieve global gender parity from its previous assessment of 100 years.
The organization has also noted that it will take the world another 268 years to close the economic gender gap.
This data does not take into perspective the fallout from the pandemic, which when considered could be very unpleasant.
Factors like lack of/low education, upbringing, perception of money, and of course good ol’ marriage are traceable to the exclusion in women’s access, and slow adoption of financial services in Nigeria.
An assessment of women’s financial inclusion published by EFINA in December 2019 discussed at length the profiles of these women. Read on to see our summary of these excluded women profiled in five pools:
The Anxious Early Bride
Unemployed, illiterate, recently got married because her parents could no longer afford to keep her home. This woman got shipped off as an extra burden. She typically experiences time poverty due to front-loaded childbearing and household activities in her new home.
Marginalized Polygamous Wife.
There is no denial of the fact that there are still many polygamous homes in existence. The marginalized polygamous wife is unemployed, illiterate, and subject to household tensions related to the allotment of her husband’s resources across multiple wives. This distribution results in lower income and less likelihood of using financial services.
An entrapped farmer is middle-aged, restricted to subsistence agriculture due to insufficient income to scale up, and often makes by-products from farm commodities to supplement her income. Simply put, she hardly gets enough even from her own produce and for this woman, life is in a survival loop.
She is middle-aged, has more financial autonomy than most excluded women due to the death of her husband but also faces pressures related to declinations of income, social capital, security and an extremely limited income stream.
Ambitious Micro Trader
From Lagos to Onitsha markets, these ambitious micro traders can be easily spotted. She’s a typical market woman probably in her 30s who trade in household commodities, usually, because (formal) education was out of her reach. Cash liquidity for the ambitious trader is about the best compared to the other profiles however, time poverty is the ill of this woman as she trades from dusk till dawn most days.
As observed, common themes across these profiles are low income and time poverty. Therefore, it will be ideal that financial solutions be low-cost and situated close to homes or workplaces of these affected profiles.
With HerVest’s strategic impact investment drive towards offering a smooth cocktail of blended finance to small-scale farmers in rural areas while returning a return to retail investors, the excluded women can truly get access while retail investors get more included.
HerVest also has a low entry of 100 Naira to open a digital savings account accessible on a smartphone and a USSD alternative for women with no internet-enabled smartphones. Access, inclusion and credit are gradually coming home to Nigerian’s marginalized women.