AgricultureWomen’s Voices

The Excluded Women of Naija’s Financial Scene

2 Mins read

“The empowered woman is powerful beyond measure and beautiful beyond description.” — Steve Maraboli

Lagos is not a country. Lagos is not Nigeria. Now that you have digested that, we hope you have some wiggle room for the facts we are about to share.

In reality, Nigeria faces a significant and growing gender gap in financial inclusion. Ours is increasingly wide against comparator countries in Africa, such as Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda, all exhibit a decreasing gender gap. While financial inclusion is increasing for both men and women, the gender gap is widening.

Factors like; lack of/low education, upbringing, perception of money and, of course, good ol’ marriage are traceable to the exclusion of women’s access and slow adoption of financial services in Nigeria. An assessment of women’s financial inclusion published by EFINA in December 2019 discussed at length the profiles of these women. Read on to see our summary of these excluded women profiled in five pools:

The Anxious Early Bride

Unemployed and illiterate, recently got married because her parents could no longer afford to keep her home. This woman got shipped off as an extra burden. She typically experiences time poverty due to front-loaded childbearing and household activities in her new home.

Marginalized Polygamous Wife

There is no denial of the fact that there are still many polygamous homes in existence. The marginalized polygamous wife is unemployed, illiterate, and subject to household tensions related to the allotment of her husband’s resources across multiple wives. This distribution results in lower income and less likelihood of using financial services.

Entrapped Farmer

An entrapped farmer is middle-aged, restricted to subsistence agriculture due to insufficient income to scale up, and often makes by-products from farm commodities to supplement her income. Simply put, she hardly gets enough even from her own produce, and for this woman, life is in a survival loop.

Stoic Widow

She is middle-aged, has more financial autonomy than most excluded women due to the death of her husband but also faces pressures related to declinations of income, social capital, security and an extremely limited income stream.

Ambitious Micro Trader

From Lagos to Onitsha markets, these ambitious micro traders can be easily spotted. She’s a typical market woman, probably in her thirties, who trades in household commodities, usually because (formal) education was out of her reach. Cash liquidity for the ambitious trader is about the best compared to the other profiles; however, time poverty is the ill of this woman as she trades from dusk till dawn most days.

As observed, common themes across these profiles are low income and time poverty. Therefore, it would be ideal for financial solutions to be low-cost and situated close to homes or the work of these affected profiles.

With HerVest’s low entry of a 100 Naira savings account which is accessible on a mobile app, and USSD- an alternative for women with no internet-enabled smartphones; access, inclusion and credit are gradually coming home to these marginalized women. Get started on HerVest now.

Reference: Assessment of Women’s Financial Inclusion in Nigeria — EFINA Report. — December 2019

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