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Rwanda has made great progress over the past years in narrowing gender gap in economic activities in general and in financial inclusion in particular. These changes are supported by the deliberate efforts by the Government of Rwanda as guided by Vision 2020 and in line with the National Gender Policy1. However, a gender gap remains where poor women in rural areas have yet to fully benefit from financial services.
Profile of women in Rwanda: Women in Rwanda are relatively young and reside mainly in rural areas, and are dependant on low and irregular sources of income such as farming.
Determinants of financial inclusion: Gender is considered one determinant of financial inclusion. Others include income, which is probably the strongest determinant especially for formal financial inclusion, with those relying on low and irregular sources of income such as piece work and agricultural activities being most vulnerable. As age often relates to economic activity, it is not surprising that women between the ages of 30 and 50 years are more likely to use/have financial services. The same applies to those residing in urban areas, and for women with higher levels of education (secondary and above).
Financial inclusion among women in Rwanda: As shown in this report, the overall gender gap is relatively small with 4% percentage difference in total financial inclusion [86% of women are financially included compared to 90% of men]. Within this context, men’s uptake of financial products/services is consistently ahead of that of women especially for formal financial services [overall, 63% of women are formally served compared to 74% of men]. The uptake of informal financial mechanisms show no gender gap. However, there is a significant gender gap in adults relying exclusively on the informal sector [24% for women compared to 17% men]. Looking at the uptake of specific financial products/services, the following gender differences emerge: