Lagos — With the growing global focus and debate over gender-based discrimination across almost all levels of human interaction, forward-thinking leaders are clamoring for the needed change to close the gender gap.
According to UN Women, over the past decade, 131 countries have passed laws to support gender equality. However following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, some of these gains may have been lost, particularly with regards to the financial inclusion and economic empowerment of women.
Several studies confirm the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women, pushing them out of both formal and informal employment, businesses and in some cases entirely from the financial system.
These are some of the thoughts that led to the development and launch of the Framework for Advancing Women’s Financial Inclusion in Nigeria by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in partnership with the Financial Inclusion Special Interventions Working Group (FISIWG), Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA) and Women’s World Banking (WWB).
At the e-Launch of the Framework, which held recently, Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, CBN, Mrs. Aishah N. Ahmad, presented a clearer picture on financial inclusion of women in Nigeria.
“According to EFINA, the female financial exclusion rate was 40.9 per cent in 2018 compared with 32.5 per cent for men. This gap may have widened as a result of the coronavirus pandemic given women’s primary responsibility for caregiving, likelihood to be frontline health workers and their predominance in the informal sector which has been severely affected by the coronavirus induced-lock down”
She further stated that, “the negative effects of the pandemic on women’s financial inclusion have manifested in the context of existing structural challenges which have kept women out of the financial system such as cultural norms, lower education and financial literacy levels, poverty, high cost of financial services,