Women face barriers to financial services

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CARACHI:

Women’s participation in financial services has remained low due to persistent barriers such as cumbersome documentation requirements, proximity to bank branches and availability of suitable products, said the Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan ( SBP), Reza Baqir.

Speaking at an event titled “Asaan Digital Account: Breaking Barriers” on Monday, Baqir said these issues, along with constraining social and cultural norms, prevent women from accessing even basic financial services such as money. possession of a bank account.

“SBP is breaking down these barriers and tackling women’s financial inclusion through various initiatives such as Banking on Equality Policy, Raast, and the Digital Customer Onboarding Framework to facilitate convenient bank account opening,” a- he declared.

Revealing the details of the Asaan digital account, the Governor said it will break down barriers to financial inclusion for women by providing faster, cheaper, efficient and convenient solutions to meet their needs.

Baqir called the Asaan Digital Account a fully digitized solution to open a full-service bank account from anywhere, anytime, via smartphones or computers with only a CNIC and no other documentation requirements.

He commended women’s contribution in various fields and called women’s empowerment a key to the socio-economic development of the country.

Due to gender gaps, women have not been able to enjoy the same freedom to seize opportunities as men, he said.

“However, International Women’s Day encourages us to pause and reflect on the systemic barriers that limit women in their activities,” he said.

The Governor stressed the need to reflect and renew the sense of ambition around gender equality in the financial services space.

Apart from Asaan Mobile Account, SBP has launched various financing programs such as SBP Refinancing and Credit Guarantee Program for Women Entrepreneurs, Asaan Finance SME, SAAF Initiative and Youth Entrepreneurship Program Kamyab Jawan of the Prime Minister.

“The nationwide National Financial Education Curriculum is delivering essential financial education to the masses,” he said.

While citing that the initiatives were closing gender gaps in the financial sector and services, he stressed that more needs to be done.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 8and2022.

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