This paper aims to investigate women’s financial inclusion as a critical element for the competitiveness of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) market for entrepreneurship and sustainable development of the region, as MENA financial institutions’ loans to women-owned SMEs tend to be significantly lower than the share of women-owned SMEs in their target markets. Causes of under-serving this market are not very well studied.
The paper builds on an inductive approach supported by the interpretative contribution offered by the viable systems approach as methodological and interpretative lens to investigate the topic of women financial inclusion in MENA regions. Reflections herein are supported by an exploratory study on the conditions for women financial inclusion in MENA regions.
The main focus of this paper is to study the financial gap that women entrepreneurs are experiencing in enlarging their businesses and/or lunching innovative projects. In accordance with this, the paper highlights the need of a more systemic approach and long-term vision to support a more extensive women financial inclusion in MENA regions.
Financial institutions’ need to understand women-owned SMEs’ financial needs for innovation and growth to build new customized financial products. This paper’s argument is that the dominant short-term approach to credit-granting for women, although providing support, may be inadequate to achieve a real financial inclusion, and possible causes and solutions are discussed.
Saviano, M., Nenci, L. and Caputo, F. (2017), "The financial gap for women in the MENA region: a systemic perspective", Gender in Management, Vol. 32 No. 3, pp. 203-217. https://doi.org/10.1108/GM-07-2016-0138
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