How Alliance Members Can Drive Women’s Financial Inclusion Efforts in Their Markets

Thursday 27th April 2023

This week, the Alliance and Data2X are publishing The Gender Data Playbook for Women’s Financial Inclusion. The Playbook is a step-by-step guide for boosting the collection, quality, and use of sex-disaggregated data to drive women’s financial inclusion (WFI) at the national level by engaging the whole financial data ecosystem. It codifies the findings from our pilot work in Bangladesh, Honduras (EnglishSpanish), Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Türkiye from 2019 to 2022, which involved comprehensive research and engagement with FSPs and policymakers in each country.

We’ve found that the growing availability of sex-disaggregated data is spurring progress toward women’s financial inclusion, with the help of—and value to—financial services providers. Regulators need input from FSPs to understand what types of data help create commercial solutions for women and how to build efficient systems for aggregating that data. Regulators can then use the data from FSPs to inform policies that support the market in serving women.

Alliance members have the chance to step up as market leaders in this process. As government stakeholders around the world increase their focus on collecting sex-disaggregated data from the private sector, FSPs in our network are well-positioned to work with them to ensure the systems and targets being developed reflect their needs.
Here are three key ways that members can drive impact and benefit in the process:

1. Gaining a seat at the table: Many Alliance members are ahead of their peers in terms of collecting and analyzing sex-disaggregated data. That means they’re uniquely positioned to influence the development of national gender data systems, including what data they report. They can also provide feedback on regulators’ reporting templates and timelines, as NatWest did for the UK’s Investing in Women Code. This reduces the strain on FSPs by aligning external and internal reporting requirements and making the data more relevant to their business models. For regulators, it helps streamline efforts by ensuring policy changes are informed by the experience of the FSPs who collect the data.

2. Showing how FSPs can use gender data to better serve women: Alliance members deliver to the women’s market daily, and they know how to turn data into insights that inform their women-centered strategies and help them develop commercial approaches to serving women. The Alliance has documented this in case studies including Tyme Group in South Africa, Banco BHD in the Dominican Republic and Access Bank in Nigeria. By showcasing market-led solution, FSPs in our network can help financial sector policymakers see pathways to progress that build on existing strengths of Alliance members, such as delivering NFS for women, having dedicated desks at bank branches, and more.

3. Helping craft national policies for women’s financial inclusion: Alliance members can also support regulators in using sex-disaggregated financial services data to develop policies that drive women’s financial inclusion. For example, The State Bank of Pakistan convened a committee of commercial banking representatives, industry associations, and academics to help develop the country’s new Banking on Equality policy, which includes robust sex-disaggregated data collection and target setting as a strategic pillar. To demonstrate the importance placed on partnering with FSPs in the implementation of the policy, the central bank governor invited bank CEOs to the policy launch. For FSPs, being part of these meetings is an opportunity to provide feedback to policymakers and to reinforce their reputations as leaders in serving women’s markets.

Women’s financial inclusion is good for women, their families, communities, and economies—and it’s also a huge business opportunity. The Playbook highlights how we can use data to size the women’s market opportunity at the national scale, showing an $628 million average annual revenue opportunity in each pilot country, from $352 million in Honduras to $1.16 billion in Türkiye.

There are countless ways to use gender data to tap into this unlocked revenue in your country. The Playbook serves as a call to action for our members to work with policymakers to build data-driven solutions that improve women’s financial inclusion and support the bottom line.