Financial Exclusion

Gender gap in financial inclusion: Evidence from MENA

Autor: Ekin Ayşe Özşuca

June 2019 - Economics and Business Letters

Extract of the Introduction

International statistics highlight a marked gender disparity in the use of formal financial services among developing regions of the world, while gender gap in account ownership is recorded to be significantly highest in the MENA region with 17 percentage points. Suffering from civil wars, political conflicts, income stagnation, economic and financial instability over the years, improving access to financial services, especially for the underprivileged groups of the population like women and those in poverty, is at utmost importance for MENA countries in terms of creating jobs, stimulating investments, supporting economic growth, alleviating poverty, reducing income inequality and thereby, contributing to sustainable development. Accordingly, the pursuit of inclusive finance has become a recent policy focus for several countries in MENA (Pearce, 2011).

Despite the policy makers’ increasing commitment for financial inclusion across much of the region, the empirical literature on financial inclusion that focuses on the MENA region is rather scant. 

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