COVID-19: Women worst affected by restrictions – Dep. BoG Governor

The Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Mrs Elsie Awadzi, has said the inclusiveness of gender in the finance agenda has become more critical and called for a coordinated effort to make progress in that direction.

Mrs Awadzi was speaking at the AFI-BOG webinar on integrating gender considerations into COVID-19 solutions on Monday, 14 September 2020.

She noted that women have been the worst affected in the outbreak of the pandemic, as they have had to pay a higher price for the imposition of restrictions in most countries.

She said: “The experiences that have been shared through today’s discussions confirm that the pandemic has disproportionately affected women, pushing them out of both formal and informal employment and business, and in some cases from the financial system, further widening the gender gap in access to finance.

“In many countries, COVID-related restrictions came at a higher price for women than for men, given that more women tend to be involved in informal, temporary, or part-time work, or in informal business partly due to the domestic responsibilities they disproportionately shoulder. What is more, the pre-existing gender gap in access to finance has meant that many women adversely impacted by the pandemic have little or no savings to cushion them and have no access to credit or grants to save their businesses from collapse.”

The Deputy BOG governor further called for policies to economically empower women.

“Promoting gender-inclusive finance is somehow inextricably linked to addressing the many underlying socio-economic and cultural issues that create inequalities for women in the job market and in business (formal or informal).

“Policies are needed to empower women economically by addressing issues affecting work-life balance, employment and income disparities, land ownership, inheritance, education, healthcare, child care, and elder care, among others. Greater access to finance for women necessarily depends on this.”

She indicated: “The gender-inclusive finance agenda is now more critical than ever before, and a coordinated effort is required to accelerate action going forward. Making real progress will require bold action to address the underlying pre-existing vulnerabilities that have only been exacerbated by the current pandemic so that we rebuild a more inclusive, sustainable, and resilient future.”

Mrs Awadzi urged the AFI Network to remove all underlying barriers in order to find solutions to the deepening gap gender in access to finance.

“I trust that members of the AFI Network, with the continued support of AFI, will, going forward, work assiduously on removing these underlying barriers to help address the widening gender gap in access to finance. I invite us all to renew our respective Maya, Denarau, and Kigali commitments, and to make a big push for tangible progress in gender-inclusive finance, ” she added.

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