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The Financial Agency of Women

Exploring behavioral archetypes in Kenya to understand barriers to digital financial services

Right now, women in Northern Kenya are navigating new frontiers with money. The fact that they they have been neither educated nor prepared for these in any way represents an exciting opportunity for any digital financial services (DFS) provider. They can be a catalyst for this self-driven change in women’s prospects. But, services must be provided through the lens of her world, rather than as offerings that take a leap of imagination to seem relevant to her.

This report shares the lessons so far from research conducted by which aims to gain a deep understanding of the access and usage barriers that women face. The report presents the behavioral archetypes the research team encountered and their learnings about DFS, CICO (cash-in cash-out) and agents. It concludes by delving into three key opportunity areas for building gender inclusive financial services in Northern Kenya:

  1. Building new products and services that are relevant to women’s new roles, e.g. services for specific financial responsibilities.
  2. Designing products and services that are more accessible to her, e.g. adapting DFS for low literacy, numeracy, and tech literacy.
  3. Building confidence and showing possibility, e.g. creating capital with DFS.

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