Despite significant improvements in inclusion in the financial sector and women’s equal representation in the population and workforce, there remains a persistent gender gap in overall financial inclusion in Tanzania. In fact, evidence shows that the gender gap in digital services is widening, as only 6 out of 10 women own a mobile phone due to their cost.
Women mainly use their income on household goods such as investing in their children’s education, nutrition and health, and are more likely to participate in savings groups than men. They are able to cope with such responsibilities by using appropriate cash flow management tools, but without access to financial solutions, their contribution in economic activity, growth and financial well-being continues to be far below their potential. It also means that they are deprived of the benefits of taking control of their own finances, investing in their business activities and protecting their family and businesses.
Only 61% of Tanzanian women are financially included
Not formally educated
Work in agriculture
Of women remain mainly dependent
of small businesses are formally registered
Source: FinScope Tanzania
Women face a complex mix of challenges in their day-to-day life at both household and community level, as well as in major economic activities. Although some of these challenges might not have a direct link to women failing to derive value from the usage of financial services, they, in one way or another, play a major role in holding back women from optimising their capabilities and opportunities.
Such challenges include:
- Lower access to formal education and lower levels of literacy and numeracy
- Lower levels of confidence in dealing with financial service providers
- Low levels and more informal participation in revenue-generating activities
- Social and cultural norms that confine women to specific roles
- Significant income gap, with the average income of a women at 50% of that for men
- Preference towards informal financial transactions
- Lack of assets as collateral
FSDT has put women at the core of its financial inclusion strategy and seeks to work with key financial service providers and policy-makers to reduce the gender gap and enable women to realise their economic potential. Our programme strategy adopts a targeted approach to understand and address barriers to women’s financial inclusion in every aspect of our work.
We have been working with the government of Tanzania to address these challenges through the National Financial Inclusion Framework which has set a target to increase the proportion of women with financial access from 63% to 71% by 2022. The framework, based on evidence from studies and reports, adopts a holistic approach to address challenges and barriers from the demand and supply sides, and within the legal and regulatory environment, to encourage new appropriate and affordable solutions to enter the market.