Globally, fifty-six percent of the unbanked adults are women. In Kenya, the situation is similar. More women are unbanked, in comparison to men. Various steps have been undertaken to address the financial exclusion of women, and though the gender gap has been narrowing over time, it persists. The rapid uptake of mobile money, adoption of transformative financial technologies and innovations, and government initiatives and policies, are attributed as having increased financial inclusivity and contributed to narrowing the gap.
However, there still exist legal and non-legal barriers that hamper women’s financial inclusion. To ensure that women’s vulnerabilities are recognized, and they are fully empowered to take on their rightful place as beneficiaries, critical stakeholders, and agents of change in the financial system, there is need for the elimination of these barriers. Gender mainstreaming in law provides one of the most powerful tools to address these barriers.
This report presents the results of an in-depth desk study carried out in the months of May and June 2021, that reviewed the extent to which gender is mainstreamed in Kenya’s finance and finance-related laws and policies. The financial laws focused on the banking, insurance, SACCOs, capital markets, pensions, and the unregulated financial services sectors, whilst the finance-related laws centered on laws and policies with a bearing on women’s access to finance, including, inter alia the Constitution, environmental laws, succession, land laws, enterprises and procurement laws.