Use of Mobile Financial Services Among Poor Women in Rural India and the Philippines
This study was conducted to gain insights into if and how poor rural women and men use mobile phones and mobile financial services (MFS), as well as the challenges and barriers they face. It carried out the research among poor rural residents in India and the Philippines. The study uses a mixed-method approach made up of focus groups and surveys targeted at owners of mobile phones who use/don't use MFS, borrowers of mobile phones who use/dont use MFS, and people with no access to a mobile phone. The study made the following observations:
- Gender disparities in using financial services, including MFS, were rare in the Philippines;
- In India, women were far less likely than men to use formal providers or have access to formal products. In contrast, Filipino women had access to formal products in larger proportions than men;
- Fear of technology, preoccupation with their daily routine and a lack of literacy and numeracy discouraged women from learning how to use a mobile phone in India;
- Filipino women were as comfortable handling a mobile phone as men were, and they used their mobile phones for as many applications as did men.