Join the conversation: How do social norms impact women’s financial inclusion and how can they be shifted to promote inclusion?

Fiona Jarden

Dear FinEquity members


You are invited to join the FinEquity Social Norms Working Group on June 11 – 13 for an online discussion: ‘How do social norms impact women’s financial inclusion and how can they be shifted to promote inclusion?’

We know that that social norms impact women’s financial inclusion, but there is a relatively limited understanding of what norms are at play, how it impacts women’s financial inclusion and the role of different actors to address regressive norms to promote inclusion. If you are interested in this topic and would like to learn more, or you have examples from your own work to share with the group, then please sign up today.


The conversation will be facilitated by leading researchers and practitioners from the financial inclusion community, along with guest moderators from health and women’s economic empowerment communities. The discussion will be hosted on the Dgroups Platform and once you sign up, you can follow the discussion and contribute via email as and when you’re available during the three days.


Explore the agenda below or find out more information here:







How Do Social Norms Impact Women’s Financial Inclusion and How Can They Be Shifted to Promote Inclusion?

June 11- 13th e-discussion Agenda


June 11th : Definition and terminology

Social norms in the economy are about gender norms and roles (e.g., asset ownership, or violence against women), as well as ‘economic norms,’ such as what is considered work, versus leisure, and the perceived skill and value placed on different economic activities.  Norms that lead to gendered occupational segregation and accord those jobs typically done by men with a higher social value maintain the gender pay gap and skew prices for products and services considered “female” versus those that are “male.” These norms shape and distort markets and economic policy by influencing cost-benefit analyses and investment decisions. For example, where norms privilege productivity of market labor over unpaid and care labor, this can lead to financial policies that exclude household water systems and prioritize irrigation systems, with negative implications for investment in women’s work, productivity of labor, and empowerment. The first day of the discussion will focus on issues related to definition and key terminology associated with Social Norms as well as delve into the discussion on why social norms need to be addressed for achieving women's financial inclusion and economic empowerment outcomes. Since the reproductive health have been working on social norms for a while, the discussion will also be an opportunity to discuss what the financial inclusion can learn from this existing body of work.

Technical Moderators:

Ben Cislaghi ,  LSHTM

Julia Arnold , ICRW

Rachal Marcus , ODI/ALIGN

Starts at 9 am EDT with a Webinar



June 12th: Learning from examples

A recent publication from IPA summarizes existing evidence on how normative barriers play a role in keeping women in small scale, low-earning enterprises, or keep them from starting businesses at all. The publications identified some areas for further exploration. For example, can innovations in digital finance improve access to and take-up of credit products among women who have limited control over their income? Do these features lead to improved income generation or business outcomes? Are there simple design changes to existing financial products that can affect profitability for women owned businesses?

This second day of the e-discussion will focus on learning from practical experiences of how different actors in the financial services ecosystem address social norms that impact women’s financial inclusion.


Technical Moderators:

Maureen Kwilasa , CARE

Cathleen Tobin , Moonbridge Inclusive Solutions

Fiona Jarden , KIT Royal Tropical Institute


June 13th: Challenges in transforming norms and the way forward

While there is growing recognition about the role of social norms as a barrier to women’s financial inclusion, there is limited evidence and understanding of norms change pathways and strategies. Norms prescribe practice but do not directly translate into them, which means that the methods and approaches that unpack the nature of social dictates and constraints on women’s behavior need to be flexible and qualitatively delve into the extent to which norms can be upheld, stretched, or broken and in what arena and under what circumstances.  Diagnosing and measuring norms change requires massive amounts of information on preferences, behaviors and outcomes which is both challenging and expensive to collect. The third day of this discussion will focus on identifying the challenges in transforming social norms that impact women’s financial inclusion both from a measurement perspectives as well as discussing the ethical issues arising from potential unintended consequences of norm change activities.

Technical Facilitators

Saski Vossenberg, FMO 
Adriano Scarampi , MarketShare Associates

Bobbi Gray, Grameen Foundation






Kind regards,

Fiona Jarden 

Senior Financial Inclusion Advisor

KIT Royal Tropical Institute

T +31205688347

P.O. Box 95001
1090 HA Amsterdam
The Netherlands

Visitors address:
Mauritskade 64
1092 AD Amsterdam
The Netherlands

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