Coming Forward: The Role of Mobile Money Agents in Driving Women’s Financial Inclusion
Women around the world do significantly more care work than men, which can restrict their economic participation and financial inclusion. In countries like Ghana and India, traditional gender roles often expect women to take on the majority of caretaking and household responsibilities, which can limit the types of businesses they can participate in and the times they are available to work. Female mobile money agents have been identified as a solution to help women access and effectively use digital financial services, as they can reduce the time and cost of travel, overcome the need for spousal permission, and improve women’s trust and confidence in using financial services. However, female mobile money agents often face the same social barriers as other women when starting businesses and accessing services.
In Ghana, the MTN mobile money platform is predominantly male-dominated, with fewer than 14% of mobile money agents in India being women. A recent study by Grameen Foundation found that only 54% of female mobile agents were primary decision-makers for their businesses, compared to 97% of male agents. Female agents also earned less income than male counterparts and were less likely to be satisfied in their roles. To increase the number of female mobile money agents, it is important to address the social barriers that women face and provide support and training to help them succeed in their businesses.
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