Only 9 percent women contribute in financial inclusion in Punjab

ISLAMABAD:In Punjab only nine percent of women have accounts at bank or other financial institution like mobile banking.

A survey conducted by Punjab Commission on Status of Women here Thursday revealed that less than five percent of women in country were included in the formal financial system compared to the regional average of thirty seven percent for South Asia.

Women with more than middle school education are more likely to be financially included as are those in employment and those who are beneficiaries of the larger social assistance programmes.

Survey said that in 2016-2017 women owned 26.8 percent of deposit accounts, 24 percent of current account, 6 percent of loan accounts and 5 percent of long-term accounts in Bank of Punjab and comprised only 5.3 percent of borrowers in Zara Taraqqiati Bank.

Despite the presence of financial services in urban areas, only 11 percent of urban women avail these services with higher percentage of men are financially included in Punjab with 33.1 percentage of urban men holding bank accounts as compared to 2.4 percent in rural areas.

Utilization of financial services is also high among the economically active women, either employed or unemployed, compared to the women who are not part of labor force.

Women who are in the formal labor force are more likely to receive salaries via formal means and at the minimum would have bank accounts.

Survey further reveled that demand and supply side barriers constrain women’s financial inclusion , despite the efforts undertaken in recent years.

One of the major barriers is their lack of decision making that makes them independent on permissions from male household members.

Financial inclusion is important for women to access loans, credit and to make transactions but it it is also essential to save money and build assets which can help them out of poverty, it said.

The survey stressed that specialized, women specific financial products are needed, financial literacy training through educational and training institutions and NGOs and CBOs and ensure women access to digital financial services.