FEMALE-OWNED micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Philippines need greater access to financial services, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said.
“Women and men entrepreneurs operate in the same business environment but the challenges they face differ. Women face more challenges than men in starting, managing, and growing businesses as they are more likely to be constrained by a lack of human and financial capital and by social norms that commit women to family and home responsibilities,” it said in a report.
“There is a major gender disparity between female and male entrepreneurs in the utilization of financial services and products,” it added.
The ADB said female entrepreneurs used a narrower range of financial services and products. It found that 17% of women-owned MSMEs used a business or merchant account, against the 39% of male-owned MSMEs.
The ADB said there is a need to “tailor products and services to (female entrepreneurs’) needs and preferences.”
“Although the majority of financial institutions acknowledged that they have a sizable proportion of female clients in their portfolio, none had developed an offering that would enable them to penetrate this underserved market,” it said.
“A value proposition tailored to WMSMEs requires a holistic approach that includes financial and nonfinancial services as well as digital solutions. Addressing the particular needs of women includes adapting the way financial institutions deliver financial solutions, features, and conditions such as the flexibility of loan terms and repayment schedules,” it added. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson