Denelle Dixon is CEO and Executive Director of the Stellar Development Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports the development and growth of Stellar, an open source blockchain network that links the global financial infrastructure. Previously, she was Director of Operations for Mozilla and served as general counsel and legal counsel in private equity and technology.
Blockchain has the power to change the world. The power to connect the world. The power to make the world fairer and more open. It has the potential to foster greater financial inclusion, unlock economic participation and democratize financial services in an unprecedented way. By using blockchain to create a more accessible and open financial system, we can empower people, especially those who are excluded or underserved by today’s infrastructure.
It means using blockchain to empower some of the most financially marginalized women. And on International Women’s Day, showing its impact on women seems like the right time to have the conversation.
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higher rates than men in the world. Due to a multitude of factors such as cultural or local norms, lack of financial education and employment in the formal sector, women are often less likely to use or have access to financial services. This forces many women – and unbanked adults, in general – to rely on ineffective or volatile financial options, like keeping their savings at home or traveling long distances just to do daily payments. & nbsp; “data-reactid =” 23 “> Because the reality is that women are disproportionately excluded from the existing financial system. Women are unbanked or unbanked at higher rates than men around the world. factors such as cultural factors or local standards, lack of financial education and formal sector employment, women are often less likely to use or have access to financial services. home or over long distances to make daily payments.
However, research shows that when women have financial access, the ripple effects can be powerful not only for these women, but also for families, communities, countries. Access to and use of a range of financial services not only improves the contribution of women and women-led businesses to economic growth, but also contributes to women’s empowerment. It allows better use of their personal and domestic resources and reduces the vulnerability of their households and businesses.
United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5). So how do we do it with blockchain? & Nbsp; & nbsp; “data-reactid =” 25 “> In other words, empowering women with greater financial inclusion is good for just about everyone (UN agrees, see UN Sustainable Development Goal n ° 5). How do we do it with the blockchain?
At the Stellar Development Foundation, we believe that blockchain can help change the paradigm and empower underserved people – and women in particular – in a world of greater financial inclusion in several important ways.
Greater inclusion starts with bridging the access gap
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limited financial knowledge. But blockchain technology – which creates new ways of identity and provides new entry and exit ramps – offers new ideas for bridging the gap and making financial services accessible to women and communities wherever ‘they are found. & Nbsp; “data-reactid =” 29 “> Women are often blocked from mainstream financial services due to systemic problems such as earning income in more informal sectors, lack of identification, insufficient guarantees, financial constraints mobility and limited financial literacy ramps and ramps – offers new ideas to bridge the gap and make financial services accessible to women and communities wherever they are.
It can do this by providing a uniform and universal way to digitize financial transactions across and between the world’s existing financial networks. On a large scale, the blockchain removes borders, creates openness, ensures interoperability with the formal financial system and even includes informal financial networks like those generally used by women who are underbanked.
Hiveonline done with the CARE Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) program. CARE’s VSLA program currently reaches 6.7 million people, mostly women, in 47 countries. VSLAs represent a huge informal financial network, totally disconnected from any part of the global financial infrastructure, sometimes even local. & Nbsp; “data-reactid =” 31 “> Take for example what Hiveonline is doing with CARE Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA). CARE’s VSLA program currently reaches 6.7 million people, mostly women, in 47 countries. VSLA represents a vast informal financial network, totally disconnected from any part of the global financial infrastructure, sometimes even local.
Recognizing the barriers that individuals, especially women, have to traditional finance, Hiveonline uses blockchain to put these VLSA transactions online, creating an immutable and accessible record of participants’ activities, which creates a financial history that can be shared with financial institutions to create access to better credit, insurance and savings products. Hiveonline builds a bridge between informal financial communities, made up of underserved and unbanked women like women, and the formal financial system. That’s the power of blockchain – financial services and the global financial infrastructure can be connected in ways that create equitable access.
average) and the challenges women face in accessing the labor market, it is powerful to consider the fact that female migrant workers are still responsible for sending half of the $ 600 billion in remittances worldwide. The rate speaks to the role that women play in their families as caregivers and contributors, even – and perhaps most importantly – when they work abroad. But in today’s global financial system, these remittances can be slow and costly. & Nbsp; “data-reactid =” 37 “>This saves time and money. Despite the gender wage gap (globally, women earn $ 0.23 less than men on average) and the difficulties women face in accessing the job market, it is powerful to consider the fact that migrant workers are still responsible for sending more than $ 600 billion in remittances worldwide. The rate speaks to the role that women play in their families as caregivers and contributors, even – and perhaps most importantly – when they work abroad. But in today’s global financial system, these remittances can be slow and costly.
gender gap also extends to digital divide. “data-reactid =” 38 “> Blockchain can make these types of cross-border payments faster and more affordable. Transfers cost fractions of a cent rather than a few to several hundred dollars. Transfers take seconds rather than several days. With access to a telephone, which women are more likely to have than access to financial institutions, women can more easily share and invest their income, while saving time, costs and , of course, energy. However, I recognize that the gender gap also extends to the digital divide.
There are clearly many reasons why we care about using blockchain to promote financial inclusion. And on this International Women’s Day, we want to share how the blockchain has the potential to promote financial inclusion that promotes gender equality. Women are at the heart of the health and growth of the global economy. Greater financial inclusion can be a catalyst to lift women, families and communities out of poverty by giving them a safe place to save money, build assets and make their daily lives easier. This can mean healthier children, more equitable schooling, greater labor market participation, more women entrepreneurs and women-led businesses.