Digitisation of financial services and payment systems has empowered people by ensuring a greater reach and accessibility to affordable solutions across the country. But with this growth, there is a need to promote gender equality in the finance sector and empower women.
The discussion on ‘Improving women’s uptake and usage of digital financial service’ explored the barriers and challenges faced by women while accessing financial services for women. The panel included Madhura DasGupta Sinha, Founder and CEO, Aspire For Her, Priti Rathi Gupta, Founder, LXME, Shweta Aprameya, Chief Executive Officer, ARTH, Shweta Rajpal Kohli, Chief Public Policy Officer, Peak XV and Misha Sharma, Practice Head, Household Finance, Dvara Research.
Talking about what inspired her to start a platform like LXME, Priti Rathi Gupta said that the idea was to create a safe space where women can have conversations about money. There are no discussions about money either at homes or workplaces especially among women so one has to understand women’s behavior before suggesting financial investments. She added, “We need to help a woman build trust in herself before trusting a platform.”
Shweta Aprameya, Chief Executive Officer, ARTH spoke about how there is an increase in access to smartphones in India but that is usually for connecting with others instead of accessing financial services. She said, “Women suffer the stigma of failure much more than men. So they don’t take risks and chances. If someone from a humble background wants to take a call for a ₹2 lakh loan, she can’t since she doesn’t have the courage.”
Misha Sharma, Practice Head, Household Finance, Dvara Research stated that while women are a part of financial decision making at homes, they don’t execute the decisions especially in the formal realm. “Women are a part of informal finance networks and mechanisms like chit funds, self help groups and saving internally by lending to friends and family. But the formal financial decision making is missing,” she said.
GFF recognises Women Leaders
One of the key focus areas of Global Fintech Festival 2023 was to recognise women leaders in the fintech sector. A Women in Fintech breakfast meeting was organised on Day 2 off GFF where Praveena Rai, COO, National Payments Corporation of India and Kristy Duncan, Founder and CEO, Women in Payments addressed the gathering.
Kicking off the Women in Fintech session, NPCI’s Praveena Rao said,“Technologies like UPI have transformed finance for women, across the income spectrum.”
GFF saw the launch of Global Fintech Women (GFW) in collaboration between NPCI and Aspire for Her. Praveena Rai, COO, National Payments Corporation of India, Kristy Duncan, Founder and CEO, Women in Payments, Interactive Drama Engagement by Steps, Madhura DasGupta Sinha, Founder and CEO, Aspire For Her launched the GFW Community QR scan.
Speaking at the launch, DasGupta said, “GFW should be a community that all women should be a part of. Make it grow & create more support and inclusivity for our peers.”
Additionally, Women’s World Banking (WWB), an organisation working for financial inclusion of women, and NPCI also joined forces to empower women and advance financial inclusion for everyone.