The Scale of the Challenge
Women and girls in Ethiopia face barriers in the supply of and in their demand for financial products and services, the wider enabling environment as well as in their socio-cultural context.
On the supply side, mobile and agent banking are in the nascent stages and the low number of and distance between formal bank access points poses a challenge, more so for women than men who have limited time and freedom to travel and lower levels of mobile ownership – with more than half (53%) of rural women not having access to a mobile. Indeed, they on average have 16 hours less free time than men per week once unpaid household and market work are considered. The collateral requirements of up to 200% imposed by banks for loans are a barrier, as on the demand side women have lower level of assets to use as collateral – with only 11% of women owning a house, compared with 26% of men, due to customary practices. This is in a context of the wider enabling environment, where women are less likely to inherit land, furthermore, although polygamy in Ethiopia is illegal about 14% of women are in polygamous relationships and they face a gap in their legal rights to land.
53% of Rural Women
do not have access to mobile devices
Constraints such as these, collectively limit women’s access, usage and agency over financial products and services in ways that constrain their economic empowerment. Consequently, women remain disproportionately excluded from the formal financial system, with the gender gap in bank access – the main financial access points - between women and men standing at 4% points, which increases to 21% points in rural areas.