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国际资讯

世界银行:缩小普惠金融性别差距痼疾的三种途径

国际资讯

世界银行:缩小普惠金融性别差距痼疾的三种途径

1987年我刚成为伦敦经济学院的新生时开了我的第一个银行账户。这个举动看似微不足道,但却意味着从此我可以管理自己的财务,花自己的钱,自己做出财务决定。这是一种为自己做决定的自由。

目前,对全球9.8亿妇女来说,这种财务自由仍不可企及。而且让人担忧的是,情况似乎并没有好转的迹象。我们的全球金融包容性指数显示,虽然有越来越多妇女开立了银行账户,但男女之间仍有7个百分点的差距——而且自2011年以来一直没有改善。

当然也有一些亮点。比如在玻利维亚、柬埔寨、俄罗斯和南非,拥有银行账户的男性和女性比例相同;而阿根廷、印尼和菲律宾的情况则与全球总体状况相反——那里拥有银行账户的女性多于男性。

也有一些非常顽固的性别差距令人不安。那些在2011年存在银行账户拥有率性别差距的国家通常今天仍存在这种差距。在孟加拉国、巴基斯坦和土耳其,拥有银行账户的男性和女性比例相差近30个百分点。摩洛哥、莫桑比克、秘鲁、卢旺达和赞比亚这方面的差距也达到两位数。

不管男性还是女性,没有银行账户的人往往会说他们没有账户的主要原因是挣的钱根本不足以开设账户。因此,我们需要确保每个人都有机会工作、挣钱、参与经济活动。这是我们世行集团的工作核心,尤其要注重为人们培养必要技能,适应未来就业的需要。

但还有一些原因只是导致女性无法开立账户。普惠金融方面的性别差距可以一步步追溯到机会、法律和法规等各方面的不平等,这些不平等使女性哪怕在开立银行账户这个简单的事情上都面临额外障碍。

有些事情对男性来说很简单,但对妇女就困难重重。各国必须更加努力,消除妇女面临的各种阻碍。怎样做到这一点呢?我建议可以从三个方面做起。

更多地利用现代技术和移动银行

将日常现金交易转入金融账户可以减少无银行账户的女性数量。我们在欧洲和中亚以及中东和北非地区都看到了这种情况。在这些地区,拥有银行账户的女性当中有五分之一是为了接收政府部门工资、社会福利金或养老金转账而开立了自己的第一个账户。在拉丁美洲和加勒比地区,这一比例为14%。

与此同时,类似肯尼亚M-PESA这种开创性移动汇款服务的业务已展示了移动银行的强大功能。即使是在肯尼亚最偏远的农村,你也能看到手机银行服务亭。很多贫困农民通常很难获得金融机构的服务,哪怕去最近的银行也要花一些交通费并且耽误工作时间。对这些人来说,手机银行颠覆了原来的游戏规则。最近一项研究表明,M-PESA使约18.5万名肯尼亚妇女从仅能糊口的农业生产转向商业或零售业,她们的储蓄也因此增加。随着手机的日益普及,移动银行可能是一种跳过传统模式、不用人们前往金融机构而是将金融服务带到人们身边的方式。

消除歧视性法律

现在只有三个国家已婚妇女开设银行账户需经丈夫允许。这是进步,但即使三个国家也太多了。

但其他法律也可能与普惠金融有间接联系,而且可能产生巨大的影响。在31个国家,已婚妇女不能象她们的丈夫那样选择在哪里居住。这可能使他们难以前往银行,也很难找到工作为家庭赚钱。

限制妇女参与经济活动的法律也会限制她们获得和使用金融服务。在那些妇女可以当户主、允许已婚妇女工作的国家,女性更有可能拥有银行账户、有银行储蓄或从银行贷款。

即使在妇女面临极大困难的地方,也有可能改变阻碍她们的法律。刚果民主共和国在性别平等的几乎所有方面都是表现最差的国家之一,其家庭法禁止已婚妇女不经丈夫允许而开设银行账户、申请贷款、签署合同或注册公司。世界银行集团与刚果性别和司法部门合作,推动该法的修改,在2016年通过的新家庭法中取消了这些限制。

重视培养理财能力

要想提高女童和妇女的理财知识,不仅意味着要改善她们的阅读和写作技能,而且还要教她们怎样使用交易账户、怎样管理金钱、做好预算以及怎样储蓄。另外,财务决策还涉及社会、情感和心理等多方面因素,它们可能与基本理财技能同等重要。

现代科技可以为客户提供迅速及时的信息反馈。两种利用新技术来提高理财能力的方法具有很好的发展前景:一是手机短信,二是通过娱乐节目传递理财教育信息。对玻利维亚、秘鲁和菲律宾的研究显示,通过手机短信来提醒人们的储蓄目标有助于增加储蓄。在南非,一个世行项目与流行肥皂剧合作,在剧情中加入理财信息,促使人们转变了对赌博和高利贷的态度。

有许多方法可以推动女性在普惠金融方面赶上男性,以上只是其中三个。世界银行正在使用所有可用的工具来对此提供支持。

I opened my first bank account as a new student at the London School of Economics in 1987. This seemingly small act meant that I could manage my own finances, spend my own money, and make my own financial decisions. It meant freedom to decide for myself.

That financial freedom is still elusive to 980 million women around the world. And, worryingly, this does not seem to be improving. Our Global Findex database shows that while more and more women are opening bank accounts, a global gender gap of 7 percentage points still exists—and it has not moved since 2011.

There are some bright spots. In Bolivia, Cambodia, the Russian Federation, and South Africa, for example, account ownership is equal for men and women. And in Argentina, Indonesia, and the Philippines, the gap we see at the global level is reversed—women have more accounts than men.

But there are also some very troubling, and persistent gaps. The same countries that had gender gaps in 2011 generally have them today. In Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Turkey, the gap in account ownership between men and women is almost 30 percentage points. Morocco, Mozambique, Peru, Rwanda, and Zambia also have double-digit differences between men and women.

One of the main reasons that both men and women cite for not having a financial account is that they simply are not earning enough to open one. We need to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to work, earn, and participate in his or her economy. This is at the core of our work at the World Bank Group, especially as we look at the skills people will need for the jobs of the future.

But there are some reasons that keep women specifically from opening accounts. The gender gap in financial inclusion can be traced back step by step through unequal opportunities, laws, and regulations that put an extra barrier on women’s ability to even open that simple bank account.

Countries have to do better in unraveling the complicated web that women face when they try to do something that for a man, is quite simple. How can we level it up? Let me suggest three things as a start:

Do more with technology and mobile banking

Moving routine cash transactions into financial accounts could shrink the number of unbanked women. We have seen this work in both Europe and Central Asia, and the Middle East and North Africa, where 1 in 5 women who have an account opened their first account to receive digital transfers of public sector wages, government social benefits, or public pensions. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the share is 14 percent.

At the same time, programs like M-PESA, the groundbreaking mobile money transfer service in Kenya, have demonstrated the power of mobile banking. Drive through even the most rural area in the country, and you’ll see a mobile banking kiosk. This is a game-changer for rural poor who have generally had scarce access to financial institutions, and for whom the trip to the nearest bank has too high a cost in terms of travel or lost time at work. Recent research shows that because of M-PESA, around 185,000 women in Kenya moved from subsistence farming to business or retail sales, and their savings went up as a result. As mobile phone ownership grows, this may be a way to jump past the traditional ways to access a financial institution and bring access to people where they are.

Remove discriminatory laws

There are only three countries remaining where married women need permission to open a bank account. This is progress, and yet this is also three too many.

But there are other laws that might seem indirectly linked to financial inclusion, that can have a huge impact. In 31 countries, married women cannot choose where to live in the same way that their husbands can. This can make it harder for them to travel to a bank or to take a job and earn money for the family.

Laws that put limits on women’s economic participation also curb their access to and use of financial services. In economies where women can be head of household, and where married women are permitted to work, women are more likely to have accounts, credit, or savings.

Even in places where women face often insurmountable odds, it is possible to change the laws that hold them back. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo—a country that performs at the bottom in nearly all aspects of gender equality—the World Bank Group worked with the ministries of Gender and Justice to change the country’s family law, which previously prevented married women from opening bank accounts, obtaining loans, signing contracts, or registering companies without the permission of their husbands. This led to the adoption of a new Family Code in 2016 that lifted these restrictions.

Focus on financial capability

Boosting financial literacy among girls and women means not just improving their reading and writing skills, but also teaching them how to use a transaction account, how to manage and budget money, and how to save. At the same time, the social, emotional and psychological aspects of financial decision-making can be just as important as basic technical skills.

Technology applications can help customers through immediate and timely feedback. Two promising approaches to financial capability that leverage technology include using text messages and embedding information in entertainment shows. Text messages that remind people of their savings goals might help increase savings, as research in Bolivia, Peru and the Philippines has shown. In South Africa, a World Bank project worked with a popular soap opera to include financial messages in the storyline, helping to shift attitudes toward gambling and high cost retail credit.

These are just three of the many levers that will need to be pulled if women are to catch up to men in financial inclusion, and the World Bank is using all the tools at its disposal to provide support.


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