As the world celebrates International Women’s Day today, Visa is proud to join the global movement to honor the achievements of women around the world. Yet, while we acknowledge the many advancements for women, we also recognize that many challenges remain.
Today, an estimated 2.5 billion adults lack access to formal financial services, and a disproportionate number of them are women. In many developing countries – as our recent research with the GSMA mWomen Programme demonstrates – women often are the primary household financial managers: paying bills, making daily purchases and trying save for the future. However, many women lack access to the basic financial services – a secure way to carry money, a safe place to save – that could help them better manage their unpredictable and often precarious lives. Access to basic financial tools such as payments and savings is a key driver of women’s empowerment, helping them improve their daily lives while also lifting themselves and their families out of poverty.
At Visa, we are proud to know that our products, services and global network are helping provide women with access to the financial tools they need to lead safer, more convenient and dignified lives. One example is the Visa Giro program, through which many women in Latin America are gaining first-time access to more formal financial services and a secure way to manage their finances In addition to the financial inclusion benefits generated by our products and network.
We’ve also built several partnerships aimed at improving women’s access to financial services, including:
- Partnering with Women’s World Banking to advance financial inclusion in Nigeria by supporting the development of a commercially-viable savings product tailored to the needs of underserved women. Women will be able to access their savings accounts via bank branches, ATMs and mobile phones, providing them convenience and security.
- Working with GSMA mWomen Programme to better understand the financial needs of underserved women and identify products and solutions to meet those needs. Last week, we joined with GSMA and Bankable Frontier Associates to release research on how mobile financial services (MFS) can positively impact women in the developing world. The report – Unlocking the Potential: Women and Mobile Financial Services in Emerging Markets – explores the many challenges women face and offers examples of how mobile financial services are helping them manage their complex financial lives.
International Women’s Day offers an opportunity to reflect on the progress that has been made and recommit ourselves to the work ahead. At Visa, through our products, network and partnerships, we look forward to finding new ways to empower women worldwide in the years to come.
Visa’s Head of Corporate Responsibility, Douglas Sabo and Cherie Blair, Founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women discuss the profound impact mobile technology is having on the lives of low-income women around the world.
Posted by: Douglas Sabo, Visa Corporate Responsibility on March 8, 2013 at 9:28 am