Access to Finance – Mind the Gender Gap
30 Pages Posted: 2 Jan 2018
Date Written: December 25, 2017
Studies on financial inclusion have so far focused on understanding the determinants of overall access to finance, while a small but growing literature has attempted to study the impediments that women face when trying to access finance. This paper contributes to this literature by understanding the underlying factors of gender gaps in terms of accessing the various services provided by the financial sector, paying particular attention to the structure of the banking system and to women’s socio-economic participation. We construct a database combining information from bank-level data with other variables to examine the association between banking system ownership structure and concentration, the regulatory framework and other socio-economic variables reflecting women’s participation in the labour market and gender disparities in access to property across countries. We also compare the association of these variables with overall access to finance. A weighted least squares analysis is used to identify the correlations with the gender gaps. Our results suggest that women are more likely to be excluded from the formal financial sector in countries where: (i) laws and norms discriminate against women; (ii) women have lower participation in the labour market; and (iii) state-owned banks have a big share in the banking system.
Keywords: gender gap, financial inclusion, access to finance
JEL Classification: E02, G20, P34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation