Women's Economic Empowerment & Financial Inclusion

Barriers, Opportunities & Exemplars

The goal of this work has been to examine a set of barriers inhibiting women’s access and usage of financial services, determine which barriers are most resonant to different segments of women in different markets, and make recommendations about the kinds of interventions and programs that might help remove, mitigate, or address these barriers so women can have access to and use a range of financial services that will fit their needs. Ultimately, our goal is to remove barriers to women’s economic empowerment in the financial inclusion arena. 

A part of our work has been to help ensure the Financial Services for the Poor (FSP) Team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) is focusing on and addressing the right barriers to achieve their WEE-FI 2030 vision and strategic goals, and to understand the opportunities, challenges, available tools, and trade-offs as they set priorities and make new investment, collaboration, and advocacy decisions across the whole team.



We hope these reference materials will support your work in deepening and accelerating gains for women in financial inclusion.

Barriers & Exemplars Analysis

This review of 35 barriers presents the most reliable, compelling, and recent evidence of how the barrier impacts WEE-FI outcomes. In this analysis, we present a mapping of barriers to customer segments in FSP’s nine focus countries and suggest the most relevant barriers for each market. In addition, we share a compendium of evidence-based interventions and programs that have shown success in addressing a range of barriers women face in accessing and using financial services. These exemplar interventions are tagged to the 35 barriers, as well as the FSP focus countries, customer segments, and customer journey phases.

The Reference Database

The Reference Database is a compilation of all resources consulted during the Barriers and Exemplars analysis process. In this database, we have tagged specific pieces of evidence to their relevant barriers, customer journey phases, segments, and countries. Our intention is that any user can search the database to find supporting evidence for their particular needs and context.

List of Barriers

A comprehensive list of barriers by category.

The Diagnostic Tool

The Barrier Diagnostic Tool is meant to provide a checklist of questions and sources that both Program Officers and Implementation Partners can use to determine the sequence in which they should approach barriers to WEE-FI in a specific market context. The Diagnostic Tool is divided into four sections, each associated to the different stages of the customer journey. Each section has a set of questions that will help identify barriers along the customer journey that may be more relevant for a specific market context.

The Summary Presentation

This is an overview presentation GRID Impact and SIA delivered on a FinEquity webinar to introduce the work to our WEE-FI community. This presentation highlights analysis for Kenya and Pakistan as two country case studies.

Barrier Relevance by Country

Barriers that are more and less relevant by country.

How to use these resources

Watch the below instructional videos for tips on how to effectively use the resources.

Thank you!

For questions, please contact Alexandra Fiorillo –