Our early stage field registration saw 30% sign ups coming from women. This is very encouraging as currently women are more likely to be denied access to agricultural services including inputs and finance.
Although there is still some gender bias towards access to mobile phones (women are 10% less likely to own a phone), access is improving and many women can and do use phones and mobile money as we witnessed during registration.
Ubia Soko is encouraging women to register, through women’s groups for example. While the gender gap in bank account use is currently around 10-15%, this is being reversed in mobile money accounts, where women in Kenya now outnumber men by around 22%.
The case for mobile banking, which rests heavily on personal transfers and payments, is very relevant for women, who play an active role in managing their family’s finances. As AGRIinsight develops Ubia Soko, these services will grow and evolve, and therefore improve women’s financial equality.
Access to a phone also means access to inputs and trade for women. If we can help close the gender gap in mobile phone ownership and mobile internet use today, this also creates a commercial opportunity for us.