Mapping the Women’s Market Data Gaps

Measuring Financial Inclusion

The potential value of sex-disaggregated supply- and demand-side data to developing the market for financial services to women, and the challenges to its collection, analysis and use was captured in the opening session of the GBA Data Symposium. Panelists shared key findings from research GBA conducted in partnership with Data 2X and the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), captured in a report entitled Measuring Women’s Financial Inclusion: The Value Of Sex-Disaggregated Data.

Key Points

    • The 2014 Global Findex reports that 58% of women worldwide have an account compared to 68% of men. This represents progress since 2011, but the gender gap remains consistent and overall accessibility remains stubbornly low.
    • Data is crucial to prove the business case for banks to enter this market and for policymakers to understand who is reaching which segment of the market, what are women’s financial needs and behaviors, and what policy interventions work in supporting closing the gender gap in financial services.
    • The GBA, with the support of the MIF and Data 2X, interviewed 50 regulators, banks, IFIs and policymakers on the opportunities and challenges of producing demand- and supply-side data.
    • GBA also conducted in-depth research on Chile — the only country in the world to produce sex-disaggregated supply-side banking data for the last 14 years — to understand why they did it, how they did it, the challenges and most importantly the business case.
    • The research found that when regulators look at financial systems and financial inclusion in particular, they look at key objectives:
      • Financial stability
      • Financial integrity
      • Consumer protection
    • A gender lens is integral to all three. Women are a stable source of liquidity for banks, as they are great savers. Women are less likely to trust banks, a consideration for regulators seeking to promote financial integrity or ‘trust’ in the system. Women have less financial capability, and consumer protection is a key interest of regulators.

2015 Panel 1_2

  • The research found an emerging business case for regulators to understand and track how well we are  reaching women, with what products and through what channels, for better policy design.
  • The case of Solomon Islands was presented. This is one of the first nations in the world to set sex-disaggregated targets for financial inclusion. A simple change in KYC requirements allowed for an increase in financial access, benefiting women in particular as they were disproportionately challenged due to lower levels of education, geographic isolation and poverty.
  • There is a virtuous circle for the production of more data that drives evidence-based policy and in turn drives the demand for more and better data.
  • The research found the greatest challenge is lack of awareness (lack of understanding of the value of data), followed by lack of availability (systems not set up to capture and aggregate data). This is true at the bank level and also at the national level. Data quality is the third biggest challenge, followed by a general lack of data ‘use’ — i.e. a lack of analytics and lack of holistic analysis.
  • It is the combining of data from different sources in the ecosystem — banks, insurance companies, pension funds, microfinance institutions, telecommunications companies, credit bureaus, national household surveys, World Bank Economic Opportunity surveys, and the demand-side Global Findex and national-level FinScope surveys — that yields rich insights.
  • It is the ability to integrate this data, use it to talk across government departments and develop strong national policies that will close the gender gap in financial services for women.

Panels Button


Inter-American Development Bank Representative in Brazil

CEO, Global Banking Alliance for Women
Presentation (members only)


“Banking data is necessary to help policymakers understand women’s financial needs and behavior, and how these can impact the policies that need to be made.”
— Daniela Carrera-Marquis

“Whether it is a push or a pull strategy, it is important that we banks are in this debate and dialogue together, and embrace and get educated by regulators and that we educate them.”
— Inez Murray

“To our bank members: When you struggle with your strategies for Women’s Markets, know that you are not only moving mountains in your own organization and country, but that you are impacting a wider constituency.”
— Inez Murray

“Having the data is needed for making the business case and to then adapt the policies. You need data — relevant data and consistent data — to track these changes over time and track what’s working and what’s not. Without this, it is not possible to replicate what works efficiently.”
— Daniela Carrera-Marquis

“When GBA speaks of financial inclusion, it is not just about access. We are speaking of women as consumers, employees and job creating entrepreneurs fully availing themselves of the tools the financial services industry has to offer to secure their own and their family’s futures.”
— Inez Murray

“The vision is how we can use this data to develop this market.”
— Inez Murray