Women Inclusion: Charity vs Business Opportunity
On the third day of the 4th edition of Fintech Week – Mozambique Fintech Week 2023, concerns were raised about Mozambican women’s access to financial services. Taking into account their social representation, an attempt was made to understand the reasons why this representation does not accompany financial inclusion, in order to develop an egalitarian inclusion process.
The executive director of Millenium BIM, Liliana Catoja, began by highlighting that the impact of female empowerment on social growth and productivity “is increasingly unquestionable”. In this sense, in a context where women’s access to financial services is frankly reduced, she considers that “it is imperative to concert comprehensive actions aimed at women”.
In other words, “the intention is noted, but it is necessary to put them into practice”. He continued: “With women being the bulk of the working population, the official believes that these numbers should keep pace with banking rates, noting that men represent a greater number holding accounts.”
One of the factors pointed out by Standard Bank’s Chantell Tsihlakis “are the cultural barriers where the role of women is still very much relegated to raising children and the home.”
It means that “many of the women who use bank cards are not account holders”. In other words, she says, “they move financially, yet those accounts are held by their husbands.”
Liliana Catoja complemented this idea by reinforcing that this reality “materialises in a co-dependence in which the woman is not really the beneficiary of her money, placing herself in a vulnerable position in which her resources can be managed by others.”
However, access to financial services turns out to be advantageous in mobility issues, allowing women to manage their time while “unclogging” formal branches at a time when it makes evident the growing transition to digital access.
The banking administrator therefore called for “an increase in sorority”, considering it “crucial” for women to support each other’s ventures and encourage each other to financial inclusion. “One woman encouraging another to open a bank account will already be a giant step towards financial inclusion,” she added.
According to Gabriela Rosales Rogge, it is also important to include more women in the financial sectors, in order to promote the confidence of clients who still have reservations about being attended to and accompanied by male bank staff.
This reality happens because there is still some stigmatisation of banking, so “a partnership between banks and NGOs is important in order to reach the rural population and demystify information about financial processes”.
The issue of financial illiteracy was precisely another of the questions raised by Chantell Tsihlakis of Standard Bank, driven by the low percentage of women with primary education, with implications in the current business empowerment.
Liliana Catoja recalled that “one cannot skip steps to achieve financial inclusion and it is necessary to equip the country with infrastructures that provide conditions for its materialisation, starting by documenting the population, with special focus on rural areas.”
For this purpose, she recommended the creation of brigades, acting in all districts and municipalities. A constitutional right that in the official’s opinion will help put pressure on banks to increase the number of accounts.
Gabriela Rosales Rogge added that this is also a way of bringing more women into the formal market, as well as facilitating the monitoring and control of undue transactions, such as money laundering or other fraudulent actions.
It also called for the cooperation of communication operators for the control and certification of identity, in order to ensure greater confidence and streamlining of banks. A transversal idea present in the conference was to consider the financial inclusion of women as a “business opportunity that should not be seen as a social objective, nor above all as charity”, reiterated Liliana Catoja.
This Thursday 23rd February, the last day of Fintech Week – Mozambique Fintech Week 2023, will be debated on the challenges and opportunities of digital insurance.
Follow online at Link to register: shorturl.at/dEGST