International Women’s Day: Do fintechs help narrow the gender gap?
Women have only three quarters of the economic rights enjoyed by men, and at least 2.4 billion women around the world lack equal opportunities, according to the World Bank.
These figures underline how far there is still to go to achieve gender equality, notwithstanding the improvements of recent decades. However, digital finance represents an opportunity to address the problem with
products and services that promote financial inclusion.
“The issue with technology and fintech is that by not physically having the person on the other side, all biases or prejudices are avoided,” Amparo Nalvarte, CEO and founder of Peruvian digital bank B89, told iupana.
“The machine doesn’t care if you’re a woman or a man,” said Nalvarte, a recipient of iupana’s Disruptoras 2020 award, which recognizes the most innovative women in digital finance in Latin America.
Digital savings and credit have been shown to have a direct impact on the economic independence of women and, consequently, on their
quality of life, too. A study by Tala —a financial technology company that uses data to issue emergency mobile loans in Mexico, the Philippines, Kenya and India— found that 58% of women who received microloans gained influence in decision-making at home.
“The statistics say that women are more reliable payers: They are more committed to their debts and their payment dates,” adds Nalvarte.
The data also show the number of women running fintech startups is growing. In Latin America, women account for approximately 40% of all fintech founders and CEOs,
according to a study by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Finnovista.
Nevertheless, Nalvarte points out its important to get more money behind women-run businesses in the sector to power their growth. “The main challenge for women founders of startups or fintechs is to raise more or larger amounts of funding,” she says.