Solving the Financial Gender Gap

When it comes to financial exclusion, women remain at the forefront of those impacted. Globally, figures show that more than 40% of all women still lack access to basic financial services, such as a bank account [1]. This means that around a billion people, primarily women, lack access to modern payment methods and essential financial products like insurance or pensions. As a result, many women remain reliant on their male counterparts, which puts them in a vulnerable position.

The Impact of the Financial Gender Gap

Without access to their own bank account, women are unable to start their own businesses, spend, and contribute to the economy effectively.

Currently, women control $20 trillion of consumer spending, with this sum expected to rise to $28 trillion over the next five years [1]. Similarly, women’s global earnings, now valued at $13 trillion, are predicted to rise to $18 trillion over the same period [1]. This means that women make up a growth market that is more than double that of India and China combined.


There are many causes for the financial gender gap, but the most common among these are lack of literacy, lack of formal identification, and lack of understanding of financial products and services. These challenges are even more pronounced in developing countries and among refugee women and girls. In areas such as sub-Saharan Africa, as few as 38% of women have their own bank account, meaning that the vast majority are unable to enjoy financial autonomy or to make use of their talents by setting up a business venture.

An Effective Solution

One effective solution is the biometric smart card. Biometric authentication provides a highly secure form of verification that can unlock access to goods and services without the need to remember or use a password, PIN, or signature.

This makes it a fantastic option for demographics who may not have high levels of literacy or education. This approach has already been used to great effect in India and Pakistan, where it has increased the number of women in possession of formal IDs and enabled them to open digital bank accounts. Meanwhile, in Mexico, biometric smart cards have allowed citizens to gain access to state benefits, thereby boosting financial inclusion for women too.

In our next post, we will discuss how biometrics can play an important role in achieving greater financial inclusion.