Women are particularly disadvantaged in the informal sector
© picture alliance / ZB / Matthias Tödt
Women are unequal to men in many places.
Traditional gender roles, however, are also prevalent in the formal economy. In Africa’s financial industry, for example, most loan officers are still men. In countries like Nigeria, that is the case both for banks and mobile-money companies. Across Africa, mobile money is facilitating innovative and more inclusive financial services. Where a husband’s consent is requested for the approval of a loan, as is the case in Uganda, women are at a disadvantage nonetheless. Husbands often gain undue control over their wives’ finances. It rarely happens the other way around.
Examples like these show that gender inequalities need to be consciously addressed. Overall, the expansion of the formal sector is already benefiting women. In many ways, the women themselves are a major force of making change happen.