Women's financial lives should matter, too.

They made up 44% of Nigeria’s labour force in 2022. From cassava farms, hair salons, and local food canteens to fashion houses, key swathes of Nigeria’s economy thrive on female labour.

Yet when it comes to financial services (i.e. accounts, savings, loans, insurance, pensions, etc.), women get the shorter end of the stick despite making up half of Nigeria’s adult population. In 2020, 57% of Nigeran men (i.e. 18+ adults) accessed formal financial services, compared to 45% of women (i.e. 18+ adults)—a 12% gender gap.

The bigger worry is closing that gap has been a painfully slow process. Between 2018 and 2020, the gender inclusion gap narrowed by less than 1% (from 12.6% to 12%). Women are left vulnerable to getting scammed by informal, unregulated, risky alternatives (e.g. loan sharks). In 2020, 15% of Nigerian women used informal services compared to 12% of men.