Gender Inequality and Financial Inclusion in South Africa: Lessons from India




financial inclusion, gender equality, banks, technology, financial institutions


This article examines the intersection of gender inequality and financial inclusion in South Africa, focusing on drawing lessons from India’s experience. Despite progress in financial inclusion initiatives in South Africa, women face systemic barriers to accessing financial services, including discriminatory policies and cultural attitudes. Through a comparative analysis of India’s efforts to promote financial inclusion and gender equality, this article identifies key strategies South Africa can adopt to address gender-based disparities in financial access. These strategies include promoting financial literacy among women, expanding access to formal financial institutions, and implementing policies that address the unique challenges women entrepreneurs face. By applying lessons from India, South Africa can take meaningful steps towards building a more inclusive financial system that empowers women and promotes gender equality.


Ahmad, Shakeel and Mehdi Bano. 2018. “Role Of Aadhaar Enabled Payments System (Aeps) In Retail Payments.” Paper presented at the Two-day National Seminar Gst And Digital Economy-Implications On Trade And Commerce, Gachibowli, Hyderabad, 22 and 23 March 2018.

Arun Thankom and RajalaxmiKamath. 2015. “Financial Inclusion: Policies and Practices.” IIMB Management Review 27 (4):267–287. DOI:

Atkinson, Adele and Flore-Anne Messy. 2013. “Promoting Financial Inclusion Through Financial Education: OECD/INFE Evidence, Policies and Practice.” Working Paper - OECD WPs on Finance, Insurance and Private Pensions

Besada Hany, Kristen Winters and Evren Tok. 2013. “South Africa in the BRICS: Opportunities, Challenges and Prospects.” Africa Insight 42 (4):1–15.

Bishnoi, Aman and Shailinder Sekhon. 2022. “Rural Exposure towards the Atal Pension Yojana of Financial Inclusion in Fazilka District of Punjab.” Contemporary Issues in Banking, Insurance and Financial Services: 345. DOI:

Boulle, Laurence and Jessie Chella. 2014. “Joining the BRICs: The case of South Africa.” In The Rise of the BRICS in the Global Political Economy, edited by Vai Io Lo and Mary Hiscock 99–122. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing. DOI:

Bradlow, Daniel. 2013. “The G20 and Africa: A Critical Assessment.” South African Institute for International Affairs Occasional Papers Series 145. DOI:

Burns, Scott. 2018. “M‐Pesa and the ‘Market‐led’Approach to Financial Inclusion.” Economic Affairs 38 (3):406–421. DOI:

Chibba, Michael. 2009. “Financial Inclusion, Poverty Reduction and the Millennium Development Goals.” The European Journal of Development Research 21:213–230. DOI:

Chisholm, Linda. 2017. Between Worlds: German Missionaries and the Transition from Mission to Bantu Education in South Africa. Johannesburg Wits University Press. DOI:

Chitimira, Howard and Phemelo Magau. 2021. “A Legal Analysis of the Use of Innovative Technology in the Promotion of Financial Inclusion for Low-income Earners in South Africa.” Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal/Potchefstroomse Elektroniese Regsblad 24 (1). DOI:

Chitimira, Howard and Menelisi Ncube. 2020. “Legislative and Other Selected Challenges Affecting Financial Inclusion for the Poor and Low Income Earners in South Africa.” Journal of African Law 64 (3):337–355. DOI:

Chowhan, Sudhinder Sign, and Joshi Pande. 2014. “Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana: A Giant Leap Towards Financial Inclusion.” International Journal of Research in Management and Business Studies 1 (4):19–22.

Cnaan, Ram A, Marquisha Lawrence Scott, Daniel Heist and MS Moodithaya. 2021. “Financial Inclusion in the Digital Banking Age: Lessons from Rural India.” Journal of Social Policy:1–22. DOI:

Cooper, Andrew and Ramesh Thakur. 2013. The Group of Twenty (G20)New York: Routledge. DOI:

Council, BRICS Business. 2015. “Facing Challenges, Building Confidence.” Second Annual Report 2016.

Dangi, Neha and Pawan Kumar. 2013. “Current Situation of Financial Inclusion in India and its Future Visions.” International Journal of Management and Social Sciences Research 2 (8):155–166.

Dar, Arif Billah and Farid Ahmed. 2021. “Financial Inclusion Determinants and Impediments in India: Insights from the Global Financial Inclusion Index.” Journal of Financial Economic Policy 13 (3):391–408. DOI:

Das, Madhurima. 2016. “Review of Pension Schemes in India.” SSRN DOI:

Demirgüç-Kunt, Asli, and Leora F Klapper. 2012. “Financial Inclusion in Africa: An Overview.” World Bank Policy Research Working Paper (6088). DOI:

Dipa, Sinha and Azad Rohit. 2018. “Can Jan Dhan Yojana Achieve Financial Inclusion?” Economic and Political Weekly 53 (13).

Fleisch, Brahm David. 1995. The Teachers College Club: American Educational Discourse and the Origins of Bantu Education in South Africa, 1914–1951: Columbia University.

Garg, Sonu and Parul Agarwal. 2014. “Financial Inclusion in India–a Review of Initiatives and Achievements.” IOSR Journal of Business and Management 16 (6):52–61. DOI:

Goyal, Mini and Maninder Khera. 2016. “Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana: A Step Towards Financial Inclusion.” Pacific Business Review International 8 (9):130–137.

Hamann, Ralph, Sanjeev Khagram and Shannon Rohan. 2008. “South Africa’s Charter Approach to Post-apartheid Economic Transformation: Collaborative Governance or Hardball Bargaining?” Journal of Southern African Studies 34 (1):21–37. DOI:

Iqbal, Badar Alam and Shaista Sami. 2017. “Role of Banks in Financial Inclusion in India.” Contaduría y administración 62 (2):644–656. DOI:

Kapoor, Aditi. 2014. “Financial Inclusion and the Future of the Indian Economy.” Futures 56:35–42. DOI:

Khuntia, Rajanikanta. 2014. “Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY): A New Drive Towards Financial Inclusion in India.” ZENITH International Journal of Business Economics and Management Research 4 (11):10–20.

Koku, Paul Sergius. 2015. “Financial Exclusion of the Poor: A Literature Review.” International Journal of Bank Marketing. 33(5):654-668. DOI:

Kostov, Philip, Thankom Arun and Samuel Annim. 2015. “Access to Financial Services: The Case of the ‘Mzansi’ Account in South Africa.” Review of Development Finance 5 (1):34–42. DOI:

Kostov, Philip, Thankom Gopinath Arun and Samuel Annim. 2014. “Financial Services to the Unbanked: The Case of the Mzansi Intervention in South Africa.” Contemporary Economics 8 (2):191–206. DOI:

Leeladhar, Vyas. 2006. “Taking Banking Services to the Common Man-financial Inclusion.” Reserve Bank of India Bulletin 60 (1):73–77.

Lemanski, Charlotte. 2011. “Moving up the Ladder or Stuck on the Bottom Rung? Homeownership as a Solution to Poverty in Urban South Africa.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 35 (1):57–77. DOI:

Matsebula, Velenkosini and Derek Yu. 2020. “An Analysis of Financial Inclusion in South Africa.” African Review of Economics and Finance 12 (1):171–202.

Nanziri, Elizabeth L and Murray Leibbrandt. 2018. “Measuring and Profiling Financial Literacy in South Africa.” South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences 21 (1):1–17. DOI:

Niang, Cecile T. 2013. “Connecting the Disconnected: Coping Strategies of the Financially Excluded in Bhutan.” World Bank Publications. DOI:

Ojo, Tinuade Adekunbi. 2020. “A Study of Financial Inclusion and Women’s Empowerment in South Africa: The Case of Female Entrepreneurs in Gauteng.” Doctoral Thesis: University of Pretoria.

Omojolaibi, Joseph A, Adaobi Geraldine Okudo, and Deborah A Shojobi. 2019. “Are Women Financially Excluded from Formal Financial Services? Analysis of Some Selected Local Government Areas in Lagos State, Nigeria.” Journal of Economic and Social Thought 6 (1):16–47.

Ozili, Peterson K. 2021. “Financial Inclusion Research Around the World: A Review.” Forum for Social Economics 50:4, 457–479. DOI:

Sandeep, J and Namratha Sharma. 2015. “A Study on Atal Pension Yojana.” International Journal in Management and Social Science 3 (7):604–614.

Sanderson, Abel, Learnmore Mutandwa and Pierre Le Roux. 2018. “A Review of Determinants of Financial Inclusion.” International Journal of Economics and Financial Issues 8 (3):1.

Shahbaz, Muhammad, Aviral Kumar Tiwari, and Muhammad Nasir. 2013. “The Effects of Financial Development, Economic Growth, Coal Consumption and Trade Openness on CO2 Emissions in South Africa.” Energy Policy 61:1452–1459. DOI:

Shahid, Amita and Taptej Singh. 2015. “Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana: A Vehicle for Financial Inclusion.” Indian Journal of Economics and Development 11 (2):499–508. DOI:

Shepherd, RHW. 1955. “The South African Bantu Education Act.” African Affairs 54 (215):138–142. DOI:

Shipalana, Palesa. 2019. “Digitising Financial Services: A Tool for Financial Inclusion in South Africa?”. SAIIA Occassional Paper No 301.

Singh, Alka. 2017. “Role of Technology in Financial Inclusion.” International Journal of Business and General Management 6 (5):1–6.

Sujith, TS and CD Julie. 2017. “Opportunities and Challenges of E-payment System in India.” International Journal of Scientific Research and Management (IJSRM) 5 (09):6935–6943. DOI:

Tomlinson, Mary R. 2005. “South Africa’s Financial Sector Charter: Where From, Where To?” Housing Finance International 20 (2):32.

Tripathi, Ravindra, Nikhil Yadav and Rajesh Kumar Shastri. 2016. “Financial Inclusion in India through Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana: An Empirical Analysis of Statistical Evidence.” Indian Journal of Finance 10 (10):42–55. DOI:

Van Hove, Leo and Antoine Dubus. 2019. “M-PESA and Financial Inclusion in Kenya: Of Paying Comes Saving?” Sustainability 11 (3):568. DOI:

Yadav, Rajesh K and Sarvesh Mohania. 2016. “A Case Study with Overview of Pradhan Matri Jan Dhan Yojna (Atal Pension Yojana).” World Scientific News (29):124–134.




How to Cite

Ncube, Princess. “Gender Inequality and Financial Inclusion in South Africa: Lessons from India”. Journal of Law, Society and Development, 20 pages.



Received 2023-03-03
Accepted 2023-10-02
Published 2023-11-15