Digital cash transfers in the time of COVID-19: Opportunities and considerations for women’s inclusion and empowerment
This paper (PDF) by CGAP, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank Group and Women’s World Banking, on gender intentional digital cash transfers in the time of COVID-19, offers guidance and considerations for policymakers to support women’s inclusion and empowerment. If the risks faced by women are not actively addressed, the COVID-19 crisis is likely to widen already existing gender inequalities. The digitization of cash transfers has emerged as an attractive policy solution for countries seeking to expand social assistance to alleviate the economic hardships created by COVID-19 and to advance financial inclusion. However, there are a number of barriers for women, including gaps in financial access, official IDs, mobile phones, failing program design and insufficient gender data and analysis. Deliberate programmatic and policy decisions can proactively empower women and support their inclusion during, and well beyond, the COVID-19 crisis. The D3 framework outlines pathways to address gender inequalities via three basic prolongs: 1) Digitize: to reach remote people at low cost. Recommendations include the distribution of mobile phones, private sector partnerships, reduced transaction costs, and broader agent networks. 2) Direct: provide cash transfer into an account registered in a woman’s name and to which she has direct access. Recommendations to make it work include to make women the default recipient of cash transfer schemes, ease know-your-customer requirements, leverage official identification systems and seek to enable women’s onboarding. 3) Design: programs should aim to enhance prospects for women’s economic empowerment. To do so, recommendations include to relax conditions, expand and adapt social registries and management information systems, work with local offices, and use diverse methods of communication. More broadly, women should have space and a voice at the table. It is critical that women are heard in positions of leadership in order to influence and inform the design, implementation and adjustments of programs.