Gender Barriers to Access and Use of Financial Services by Women in Uganda

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    This qualitative study was commissioned by Financial Sector Deepening Uganda (FSD Uganda) to provide an understanding of the underlying barriers to access to and usage of formal financial services by women. Funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO – formerly DFID), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the European Union (EU), FSD Uganda is an independent not-for-profit company committed to promoting greater access to and usage of financial services in Uganda. It seeks to support a more inclusive financial sector with a focus on low-income individuals and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

    The overarching aim of the study was to obtain a deeper understanding of the constraints and enablers of women’s access to and usage of formal financial services. The study framework was aligned to the three key components of a market system, namely: the core (demand and supply), supporting functions, and formal and informal rules and thus involved obtaining insights and perspectives from all types of market system actors including FSPs, support service providers, regulators and policymakers, individual household members and a mix of women and men in the community. Since the study also sought to establish geographical variants of women’s experience in accessing financial services, field visits were undertaken in southwestern, central peri-urban and rural villages as well as in Kampala to capture rural, semi-urban and urban perspectives.

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