Demand Data Sets

The Other Side of the Equation

Global and national demand-side datasets, such as Findex and FinScope, are increasing in sophistication and utility. This panel discussed the current state of demand-side data on women’s financial behaviors and explored the opportunities for incorporating gender more deeply.

Key Points

  • The first version of the Global Findex was published in 2011, and the most recent version was completed in 2014. The data shows financial inclusion is increasing, but the gender gap is not closing.
  • Progress varies among countries and regions. South Asia is particularly lagging.

2015 Panel 4_2

  • There is a link between gender and poverty, and the gap in access to accounts is larger in the bottom 40% than the bottom 60%. Being a poor woman is a double burden.
  • There is a hypothesis that mobile banking can improve financial inclusion. It has worked in some markets, but the challenges can be significant.
  • In Mexico the regulator, CNBV, conducts a national survey on financial inclusion. Their aim is not only to supervise and regulate financial institutions for financial stability, but also to ensure that all families have more and better access to financial products and services. They do this by using the data collected to inform public policy and identify some of the main barriers that limit access to and usage of formal financial services. For example, after learning that only 20% of adults in the country keep a record of their expenditures, the government made financial education courses mandatory at elementary schools.

  • Several countries had conducted demand-side surveys on financial services prior to the Global Findex, but they were not sex-disaggregated, like Mexico’s is.
  • Financial inclusion is important for savings, and there is a link between savings and growth. We need to know the supply and demand constraints in order to bring more savings into the formal sector.
  • The IDB is encouraging regulators to develop a basic set of supply-side indicators that are comparable within LAC and working to incorporate gender aspects into demand surveys in the region. They are currently supporting two countries in the implementation. The ultimate goal is to create a conceptual and methodological framework and guidelines for implementation in all of LAC.
  • To encourage women to become involved in the financial system, we need to design the products that meet their needs and show them the benefits. We can’t do that without the right data, and we have to make sure we use the data we have.

Panels Button


Lead Economist, Gender, Human Development Network, World Bank Group
Presentation (members only)

Director of Financial Services Access, Comisión Nacional Bancaria y de Valores de México
Presentation (members only)

Financial Markets Senior Specialist, Capital Markets and Financial Institutions Division, Inter-American Development Bank
Presentation (members only)


“This is an untapped market, and it is worth understanding what [women’s] behavior is.”
— Bénédicte de la Brière

“Financial inclusion is very important for savings. When we think of macro stability, there is a link between savings and growth.”
— Gabriela Andrade

“Only 20% of adults keep records of their expenditures, so we have made financial education courses mandatory at elementary schools.”
— Zaira Badillo