UNCDF has developed a global “PoWER” strategy (Participation of Women in the Economy Realized) to drive women and girls’ economic empowerment by improving their access to, usage of, and agency over financial services, to address the financial inclusion gender gap in Solomon Islands.
UNCDF has previously carried out multi-country assessments to gain a deeper understanding of the country-specific constraints that women and girls face in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Myanmar, Senegal and Tanzania. The PoWER country assessment toolkit is available as a public good, to deepen understanding of these constraints in other countries.
The formal financial inclusion gender gap in Solomon Islands stands at 15%, one of the highest in the Pacific region. Women are more likely than men to turn to informal financial services to meet their financial needs. This is driven largely by sociocultural norms which cause a wide disparity in literacy, employment and economic agency between men and women.
Formal financial inclusion contributes directly to women’s economic empowerment: evidence from Solomon Islands shows that access to financial products correlates with a greater involvement in household spending and drives the establishment and growth of women-owned business.
This publication presents the results of UNCDF’s country assessment in Solomon Islands bringing together evidence collected from desk research, 27 key informant interviews, six focus group discussions and a survey of 400 women and girls. The analysis seeks to understand key constraints and enablers of women and girls’ access, usage and control of nance in Solomon Islands.
By separately looking at women’s current context, their demand for financial products, available supply and the enabling environment the report aims to:
- Outline key macro-trend in financial inclusion in Solomon Islands related to women and girls’ financial needs, socio-cultural factors that affect their economic empowerment, as well as micro-insights on various segments of women and girls.
- Specify and prioritize key constraints and enablers of women and girls’ access, as well as key constraints and enablers affecting women and girls’ usage and control over products and services.
- Identify key stakeholders in the financial inclusion ecosystem, particularly relating to women, their focus and their gaps, as well as the stakeholders addressing the economic empowerment of women and girls.
- Determine opportunities for UNCDF to intervene and engage with stakeholders to further advance women and girls’ financial inclusion and contribute to their economic empowerment.
The Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP), a joint UNCDF and UNDP programme, is a Pacific-wide initiative that aims to increase the number of low-income consumers who adopt formal financial services. PFIP has been active in Solomon Islands since 2008, supporting FSPs to innovate with products and services for mass-market customers, supporting government efforts to create an enabling policy environment for fknancial innovation, and empowering consumers.
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