Guide / Toolkit

Gender Norms in Financial Inclusion: Diagnostic Guidance

Full Paper 66 pages

This paper is a supplement to the CGAP publication "Addressing Gender Norms to Increase Financial Inclusion: Designing for Impact" (October 2021).

The barriers to women’s financial inclusion are complex and multifaceted, ranging from deep-rooted social norms to regulatory hurdles and supply-side challenges. However, there is growing recognition of the important role gendered social norms (gender norms) play in influencing how women access, use and benefit from financial services and of how gender norms contribute to consistently lower rates of financial inclusion among women.

Given this, CGAP, working with MarketShare Associates (MSA), developed a methodology for systematically unpacking the behavior of women as customers and users of financial services, assessing how these behaviors are shaped by gender norms, and in turn establishing how women’s financial inclusion is impacted. The methodology was developed by incorporating a financial inclusion lens into existing social norms research methods. It was further developed and tested in several contexts between 2019 and 2022, including in Turkey and Egypt by CGAP with MSA as well as through a collaborative learning effort–the “Co-Lab”–with funders and market facilitators in six countries, facilitated by CGAP and FinEquity.

The primary audience for the Diagnostic Guidance includes funders and facilitators who support women’s financial inclusion efforts and who want to gain behavioral insights into the uptake and usage of financial services among women to help them design appropriate and relevant market-based solutions that consider how uptake and use are affected by gender norms. Others who might find the guidance useful are research firms and technical assistance providers who want to understand the process, the resources necessary, the appropriate methodologies, and how the diagnostic is done in practice, and market actors (policymakers, regulators, financial service providers (FSPs), support service providers, etc.) who want to better understand how gender norms influence women’s behavior.

Additional Related Resources:


This work was funded in whole or in part by CGAP. Unlike CGAP's official publications, it has not been peer reviewed or edited by CGAP, and any conclusions or viewpoints expressed are those of the authors, and they may or may not reflect the views of CGAP staff.

About this Publication