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Enabling Insight

How the EMF Microfinance Fund promotes economic growth by focusing on Gender Equity and Financial Inclusion 

Gender equity and financial inclusion are closely related concepts that are critical for promoting sustainable economic growth and reducing poverty. 

What is Gender Equity? 

Gender equity refers to the fair distribution of resources, opportunities, and power between men and women. Achieving gender equity is essential for creating a more inclusive and just society, as it helps to promote equal participation and representation of women in all areas of social and economic life. 

How does Financial Inclusion promote Gender Equity? 

Financial inclusion can play a crucial role in promoting gender equity by increasing women’s access to financial services and enabling them to participate more fully in the economy. Women, especially those in low-income countries, are often excluded from the formal financial sector due to various barriers, including lack of documentation, limited financial literacy, and discriminatory social norms. 

Promoting gender equity in financial inclusion requires addressing the underlying social, cultural, and economic factors that contribute to gender disparities. This is essential for creating a more just and inclusive society, reducing poverty, and achieving sustainable economic growth. 

How does the EMF Microfinance Fund promote women’s economic empowerment through financial inclusion?  

Women experience discrimination and are disproportionately susceptible in many societies. The most fundamental qualities of self-determination, dignity, and freedom are affected by unequal gender roles, which in turn affects financial inclusion, or the lack thereof. 

The EMF plays a vital role in promoting financial inclusion by providing capital, supporting innovative financial technologies, promoting financial education, and investing in microfinance institutions. 

By supporting microfinance institutions, especially those that offer microcredit and other financial services to women, the EMF fund can assist women in the following ways:  

  • To become more financially independent. Financial inclusion gives women the resources they need to build up their assets, generate income, manage their financial risks, and participate fully in the economy, regardless of whether they work from home or outside the home or whether they are hired or self-employed.  
  • By equipping women with financial literacy skills. Basic knowledge on how to earn, spend, budget, borrow, save, and use other financial services like insurance and money transfers is provided by financial education. It is crucial for raising financial literacy and aids in the improvement of business outcomes, equality, and empowerment for women. The ability to make wise financial decisions, obtain financial services, and develop financial resilience are all made possible by raising financial literacy.  
  • By adding value to their livelihoods, and therefore improving their quality of life. Many of our investees have been able to start and/or grow their businesses, which has resulted in better incomes, hence a better quality of life for themselves and their families. 
  • Enable women’s access to non-credit financial services such as savings and insurance payments. The financial institutions that the EMF works with rarely set a minimum saving balance, which allows women to start small and gradually build the financial discipline of making regular savings. Financial institutions offer microinsurance products to mitigate economic and social shocks for women. Access to such services as accounts, payments, and remote access channels further promotes the financial inclusion of underbanked groups including women. Access to the full range of financial services allows women to better manage their budgets and gradually build capital for investments 

The economic empowerment of women through financial inclusion is a top objective of the EMF Fund. We are constantly looking into the social norms that prevent women from using and utilizing financial services, as well as what financial service providers like us and governments can do to address these restraints. To help us better understand how financial inclusion initiatives can benefit women at different phases of their lives, we examine when the gender gap in account ownership first appears. We also continue to research how women can use financial services and digital solutions in an equivalent manner to men. 

What are the steps that Enabling Qapital (EQ) has taken to build a workplace culture that promotes gender equity? 

Promoting gender equity in the workplace is an important goal that requires a multifaceted approach. Here are some strategies that EQ has successfully implemented: 

  • Bringing in diverse teams and offering equal opportunities. At EQ, a conscious effort is made to recruit and hire a diverse group of candidates. This includes the use of gender-neutral job descriptions and widening the pool of potential applicants through outreach and networking. 
  • Creating fair policies for career development. Both male and female team members have equal access to promotion and leadership opportunities. We ensure this by creating a transparent and fair performance evaluation process and providing opportunities for training and development. 
  • Showing companywide appreciation for diversity and inclusivity. By promoting a zero-tolerance policy for harassment and discrimination, we foster a work environment where all employees feel valued and respected, regardless of gender.  
  • By offering flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting or flexible schedules, to accommodate employees’ personal and family responsibilities. 
  • Listening, observing, and creating shared meaning. Building our creative potential for attentive listening and creating shared meaning as a group is the foundation for diversity and equality. Culture is something that cannot be imposed; it is jointly created and changes with time. We must practice increasing our ability for observation as well. Careful observation enables us to formulate more insightful inquiries and persuasive arguments.