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GLOBE Policy Brief on ‘Assessing the Role of Digital Finance for Gender Equality’

The latest in a series of briefs, bringing current legal thinking to bear on public policy issues and contemporary concerns, has now been published by GLOBE, a research centre within Warwick Law School.

'Assessing the Role of Digital Finance for Gender Equality' by Dr Serena Natile, Socio-legal Scholar at Warwick Law School, interrogates the proposed benefits of digital financial services for gender equality regarding accessibility, security and autonomy, and assesses them against the potential risks. The brief outlines the key features of digital financial services and encourages policy-makers to look beyond the potential benefits of financial inclusion to recognise the gendered structural causes of financial exclusion and the additional vulnerabilities that digital finance can create for women at the lower end of the global income distribution.

The policy brief makes four policy recommendations:

  • Regulation and funding should address the gendered reasons of financial exclusion i.e. lack of regular income, subsistence and social security. Financial exclusion should be addressed with measures to tackle inequality in land distribution, income, employment, healthcare, education and access to social services.
  • Research to inform policymaking should focus not just on the benefits of digital finance for the ‘financially excluded’ but also on those who truly profit from the digital financial business.
  • Local informal financial practices and the needs of grassroots communities should be a starting point to develop strong community-owned financial institutions accessible by everyone, without interference from Western governments, multinational corporations, financial institutions and philanthrocapitalist foundations.
  • Financial technologies should be regulated in the public interest and could be used to build and facilitate social security and gender justice.

This policy brief is based on Serena’s long-term research on the gender dynamics of digital finance and her recent book ‘The Exclusionary Politics of Digital Financial Inclusion: Mobile Money, Gendered Walls’ which provides a socio-legal and political economy analysis of the narratives, institutions and governance of digital financial inclusion as a development strategy for gender equality, with a particular focus on Kenya’s mobile money project M-Pesa. The policy recommendations also draw upon recent discussions on the need for ‘feminist recoveries’ and informed Serena’s new project on ‘Transnational Social Security Law in the Digital Age’.

PB8 - Extra


This drawing has been realised by artist Pawel Kuczyński to illustrate the argument presented in Serena’s research: providing women with access to financial services does not challenge the visible and invisible ‘walls’ that create, reproduce and exacerbate gendered exclusion, oppression and inequality.’

GLOBE Policy Brief #8: Assessing the Role of Digital Finance for Gender Equality by Dr Serena Natile.

Download using the link below.

The aim of the GLOBE policy brief series is to improve the factual base on which policy decisions are made and share cutting-edge academic research in an accessible and relevant manner with policymakers, the media, civil society groups and the general public.

Download Assessing the Role of Digital Finance for Gender Equality by Dr Serena Natile:

For more information on the policy series or to read previous briefs visit:


The Centre for Law, Regulation and Governance of the Global Economy (GLOBE) at Warwick Law School, created in 2014, is a research and public engagement centre that brings together staff and postgraduate students working in international economic law, business and commercial law, corporate governance and financial regulation.

Fri 29 Jul 2022, 11:35 | Tags: GLOBE Centre, Impact, Publication, Research, Staff in action