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Giving Compass' Take:
• News Deeply reports that many women in Bangladesh do not have access to basic financial services, limiting their upward economic and social mobility. This is due mainly to patriarchal norms in the country.
• How can we assist unbanked women in Bangladesh and other countries where the gender gap is wide? One solution suggested here is to encourage banks to set up help desks that cater directly to female customers.
Kulsu Matar radiates confidence as she makes her way through a sea of colorfully dressed May Day protesters in the center of Dhaka. She has already been working for one of Bangladesh’s labor unions, representing ready-made garment workers, for two years. Before that, she was making clothes in a factory, a job she took when she was 18. In her young career, Matar has risen through the ranks and become financially independent. But despite making a regular income for the past four years, she opened a bank account only two years ago ...
[And] Matar is in the minority. While women’s participation in the formal workforce is rising, women’s access to financial services in Bangladesh remains low.
Bangladesh has a gender gap in account ownership of 29 percentage points, one of the highest of the world, according to the World Bank’s 2017 Global Findex database. This wasn’t always the case. As recently as 2014, the gap between men and women’s access to accounts was 9 percentage points — the average for the developing world. Women’s bank account ownership in the country has increased by 10 percent to 36 percent since 2014, but it still lags far behind men’s at 65 percent.
Why has the gender gap got wider? Until recently, bank accounts were not common in Bangladesh — virtually nobody had one, regardless of their gender.
But that has changed in recent years. Though the vast majority of transactions in Bangladesh still take place in cash, a growing trend toward wiring salaries to people’s bank accounts has seen many salaried workers open accounts for the first time.
Read the full article about why most Bangladeshi women still don't have a bank account by Martin Bader at News Deeply.