In the sustainable development priorities for the next 15 years adopted by heads of states in New York this week, the United Nations has highlighted financial inclusion as an important enabler for poorer households in the informal economies of the global south to increase resilience and better capture opportunities.
The types of financial services that low-income women are able to access have also changed. In 1995, we were still promoting the idea that low-income women entrepreneurs were optimal loan clients. Today, financial institutions are offering savings, microinsurance, digital financial services to rural families, women who work in factories, and women who run larger businesses.
As small business owners in the Philippines, these women often do not qualify for traditional loans and other commercial banking services. They look to nonprofit financial institutions like Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation (NWTF) for financial services that are specifically designed to help them build their businesses.
While Boston is rapidly becoming a hub of opportunity for some, the breadth of this financial instability exposes an inequality of opportunity that hurts both families and Boston's long-term economic prospects. If we want to begin to address inequality, we must ensure that families have the tools necessary to become economically resilient.
Financial inclusion helps lift people out of poverty and can help speed economic development. It can draw more women into the mainstream of economic activity, harnessing their contributions to society. And it will help governments provide more efficient delivery of services to their people by streamlining transfers and cutting administrative costs.