Impact of new digital technologies on gender equality in developing countries

Using digital technology, it is possible to narrow gender gaps by enhancing access to welfare services, identification (ID), and financial services and information.

Impact of new digital technologies on gender equality in developing countries

Tuesday March 28, 2023,

4 min Read

Nearly 90 percent of countries prohibit women from owning property, receiving inheritances, or opening bank accounts. There are just six countries where women have equal rights at work as men. Globally, the female labour force participation rate is 27 percent lower than that of men, which is 49 percent. 

The inequalities women face remain a major global challenge despite the significant progress toward gender parity.

Bridging this gap with digital technology

Using digital technology, it is possible to narrow gender gaps by enhancing access to welfare services, identification (ID), and financial services and information.

Digitally transferred resources offer greater privacy and security. Using digitally transferred grants or loans could potentially overcome prevalent social norms, such as other household members claiming control over women's income and savings, giving women more financial control and empowering them to challenge restrictive gender norms.

Furthermore, the World Bank argues that the widespread proliferation of mobile phones in low- and middle-income countries as well as the decreasing cost of biometric technology, provide a transformative solution for capturing identity data and improving the state's ability to reach and serve the population, especially disadvantaged groups like poor, rural women.

The importance of securing government-recognised identification for women can be seen in many contexts, including asserting legal rights, accessing financial services, and claiming benefits under social programs.

Inequality between men and women is complex, but digital technology can speed up progress.

Our lives can be transformed by digital technology in a variety of ways and quickly. For example, the unbanked can, for the first time, open a bank account with it.

Women are financially excluded in South Asia by 57 percent, in China by 54 percent, and in Southeast Asia by 49 percent. As digital finance costs 80 to 90 percent less than physical payments, MGI finds it more accessible.

The Arogya Sakhi program of NGO Swayam Shikshan Prayog enables women in India to become health entrepreneurs providing antenatal and infant care through a mobile application. In addition, women can amplify their voices through social media.

Blockchain and gender equality

Blockchain can connect financial services and the world's economic infrastructure enabling inclusion, especially for women, who may access them equitably.

In addition to saving time, it is also cost-effective. Despite the gender wage gap (globally, women earn $.23 less than men on average) and the challenges women face in gaining access to the labor market, it's worth considering that women migrants still send half of the remittances worldwide. Even when working abroad, women are important in their families as caregivers and contributors. Those remittances, however, can be slow and costly in today's global financial system.

Blockchain technology allows these cross-border payments to be made faster and more affordable. Rather than costing hundreds of dollars, transfers cost fractions of a cent. Instead of taking days to transfer funds, it takes seconds. In addition to saving time, money, and energy, women can better invest their earnings when they have access to a phone, which is more likely to be available to them than financial institutions. Nevertheless, it must be recognised that the gender gap also extends to the digital divide.

Financial independence comes from real ownership. This is often associated with inequality and subordination in that people do not have access to financial services. Money and value in your possession are, in many ways, owned and controlled by blockchain. Owning a business empowers you to be financially independent. The power of ownership means new levels of agency for women; it implies a sense of empowerment.

Using blockchain to promote financial inclusion has many benefits. Global economic growth depends on the health and development of women. Providing women, families, and communities with a safe place to save money, build assets, and make their lives easier can help lift them out of poverty. It can lead to healthier children, more equitable education, greater participation in the labor market, more female entrepreneurs, and more women-led businesses.

Summing up

Digital technology cannot solve all women's challenges; however, it offers a great financial platform. Still, if its power to enable women to make the most of their potential is truly tapped, it can turbocharge progress toward gender equality.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)