COUNT HER IN: A Women-Centered Approach to Closing the Financial Gender Gap

“Women are the least satisfied with financial services out of all industries.” [1] As the world works to balance out the historical and global gender inequities that exist across industries, many have concluded that a gender-neutral approach is the most inclusive and desirable direction to pursue. Research done by the Global Banking Alliance for Women revealed that such an approach disadvantages and dissatisfies one of the world’s most essential and powerful economic forces: Women.

The issue with the “gender-blind” solution, is it does not consider the different attitudes and norms with which men and women interact and are beholden regarding financial services. On the other hand, those who acknowledged those differences were susceptible to the belief that arbitrary gender stereotypical marketing would suffice in bridging the gender gap. Pink products would be ample enough consideration to mitigate the existing disparities.

Women are a quintessential component of the economy. They account for 90% of financial decisions in the household and 85% of consumer spending [2]. And globally, women are starting businesses at increasingly significant rates, in some countries more than men. To ignore their specific financial needs is to do so to the detriment of not just an entire class but of the world.

At dfcu Bank, we recognise women’s disproportionate access to financial services and have endeavoured to close that gap at every conceivable opportunity, through the application of a gender-intelligent business model. We research and identify women’s financial behaviours, preferences, and attitudes, to tailor services that satisfy their needs.

It’s Personal!

Personal Banking is amongst our most crucial vehicles for narrowing the gender inclusion gap in finance. At dfcu Bank, we’re cognisant of this fact, which is why in 2007, we set up the dfcu Women in Business program, focusing on financial and non-financial solutions including training, mentorship, provision of tailored financial solutions, and much more. In 16 years, the program has Transformed over 80,000 women in business. In 2018, we enhanced the dfcu Women in Business program with the dfcu Rising Woman initiative which has impacted over 3,500 women. In 2022, we introduced the business accelerator program which has trained over 60 women in Business.

Research revealed that 39.4% of entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa are female, with Uganda accounting for most of that percentage. The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development reported that 47% of enterprises in Uganda are run by women, a number that will only continue to grow.[3]

Unfortunately, due to the existing issues in business and financial literacy, businesses are often embarked upon informally, so access to credit remains low. Thus, the Women in Business program also enhances access to banking services for women entrepreneurs, encourages savings, and facilitates financial literacy, thereby promoting economic independence and empowerment among women and allowing credit to women in business and women-led businesses.

It’s Spreading!

These services propagate female empowerment and inclusion in the financial space, however, dfcu Bank is further committed to championing initiatives that drive access to credit, particularly to those in rural areas. Our Women in Business services are accessible across all our branches.

Thus, women in rural areas have access to the tailored products and services dfcu has developed, including personalised banking solutions such as savings accounts, competitive interest rates, flexible loan options and convenient banking platforms.

dfcu Bank provides workshops and seminars aimed at enhancing financial literacy providing networking opportunities among women, and developing targeted awareness campaigns to sensitise women, empower them to make informed financial decisions, and provide them with the support and means to achieve their financial goals.

It’s Growing!

Financial restrictions impact every sector and industry, including the largest sector in Uganda: agriculture. dfcu Bank recognises the significant role women play within the agricultural industry and has thus implemented various initiatives to support female agriculturalists in value addition to providing financing for agribusiness ventures. Through our subsidiary, the Agribusiness Development Centre, dfcu Bank offers training and capacity-building programs on value-addition techniques and promotes partnerships with value chain stakeholders. By empowering women to add value to their agricultural produce, we aim to enhance their income-generating opportunities and improve their livelihoods.

Through these personalized initiatives, dfcu Bank is committed to promoting financial inclusion and empowerment among women, enabling them to unlock their full potential and contribute to economic growth and development.





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