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Executive Summary for March 23rd

In this week’s executive summary for Women’s Advancement Deeply: new research findings on financial inclusion, the digital gender gap and women’s land rights.

Published on March 23, 2018 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Female Entrepreneurs More Enthusiastic About Saving Than Men

Women have much greater interest in opening savings account than men do, and providing female entrepreneurs with mobile banking tools can significantly enhance their profits, according to a new study.

The study, released by the Center for Global Development (CGD), a Washington, D.C.-based think-tank focused on international development, is the result of a two-year project examining how women micro-entrepreneurs were able to improve cash flow and grow their business when they were given access to mobile savings tools and business training.

Using an analysis of 13 studies from different countries worldwide, the authors found that interest in savings accounts was much higher among women than men: 63 percent of women would want to open a basic savings account, compared with only 26 percent of men.

In another part of the study, working with a group of 4,000 micro-entrepreneurs in Tanzania, researchers measured the success of mobile banking technology and business skills training in improving savings, business practices and economic empowerment. “What we found was that women have a significantly higher propensity to save than men and when they are given the tools to do so, they use them,” lead researcher Mayra Buvinic said.

African Governments Sitting on $408 Million That Could Close Digital Gender Gap

Spending the existing funds earmarked by governments for increasing access to the internet could close the digital gender gap in Africa, a new study has found.

Researchers from the World Wide Web Foundation and the Alliance for Affordable Internet found that 37 countries in Africa had at least $408 million sitting in Universal Service and Access Funds, which are raised using mandatory contributions from mobile operators and intended to reach communities that lack mobile and internet access.

If 50 percent of that money were targeted specifically t programs dedicated to women and girls, the study found, Africa’s digital gender gap of 25 percent – the world’s largest – could be closed within 12 years.

Women Farmers Paid Far Less Than Men in Commercial Land Deals

Men receive up to six times as much for their land as women do in commercial land deals in Africa, according to research by the World Resources Institute.

When communities are compensated or resettled, not only are women paid less for their land, but they are also disproportionately affected by loss of access to resources such as rivers and forests, the researchers said.

The study focused on Tanzania and Mozambique, both of which have seen thousands of people displaced over the past decade due to corporate deals in mining, tourism and agribusiness. Researchers said part of the issue is that much of the land in Africa is communally owned, passed down from father to son. Women are often unfairly compensated for lost farms because they are not considered the rightful owners of the land they cultivate.

Among the WRI’s recommendations are that governments adapt land laws to explicitly oblige investors to pay women their fair share of compensation and that they require land titles be in both spouses’ names, as well as tackling cultural attitudes toward women’s land ownership.

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