25 July 2019

Social norms and women’s financial inclusion: The role of providers

Author: Yasmin Bin-Humam
Published by: CGAP
Photo: Yavuz Sariyildiz, 2012 CGAP Photo Contest
Photo: Yavuz Sariyildiz, 2012 CGAP Photo Contest

How do financial services providers (FSPs) shape gender norms that restrict or expand women’s access to financial services? In more ways than you might think, and there are good reasons why FSPs should be aware of this.

From a business standpoint, social norms shape the demand dynamics of a customer base and determine the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and channels. When norms discourage women from using financial services, they close off a huge potential market for FSPs. The 2017 Findex shows that in Turkey, where CGAP is researching gender norms that affect women’s financial lives, only 53 percent of women over age 15 have an account at a financial institution compared with 82 percent of men.

That’s roughly 14.6 million women who don’t have accounts, and each one is a potential customer...

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