Accelerating Women’s Economic Empowerment Through Technology
Financial services are core to poverty reduction and economic empowerment, yet a staggering 42% of women and girls worldwide – approximately 1.1 billion – remain outside the formal financial system. Women’s financial inclusion is essential to achieving gender equality by enabling them to handle their finances with greater privacy, security and efficiency, and providing a platform for future investments. As mobile connectivity proliferates, technology is helping to deliver these services to the most remote and impoverished communities, but expanding access to women still remains a unique challenge given mobile phones in these regions are still predominantly controlled by men.
To tackle these barriers, global nonprofit Pact has partnered with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to digitize their award-winning WORTH village banking account system. The new MyWORTH mobile app replaces paper-based ledgers and savings records, helping poor and financially excluded women to save money, access credit and start small businesses. The unique model brings women and older girls together in small community groups of 20 to 25 women, and offers literacy and numeracy training to group members to help them empower their own community. By digitizing these accounting systems and putting mobile technology in the hands of entrepreneurial women in the most remote places, MyWORTH is accelerating the fight against poverty and inequality.
"MyWORTH decreases transaction time, leading to increased group productivity and faster turnover of loan capital. But, most importantly, it creates group and individual credit histories that are essential for financial inclusion,” said Molly Derrick, Pact’s external relations manager. More than 550,000 women in 15 countries have taken part in WORTH and the digitized MyWORTH program, an HPE Living Progress Challenge winner, is currently being piloted with more than 1,500 women in Tanzania with eventual rollout planned for communities across Africa and Asia.
“The Living Progress Challenge sought to innovate digital solutions that would improve the lives of people around the world,” said Christopher Wellise, Chief Sustainability Officer at HPE. “MyWORTH brings together Pact's international development expertise with HPE technology to scale solutions to financial inclusion, testament to the power of co-creation and innovation.”
 World Bank, http://www.worldbank.org/en/programs/globalfindex