There are many groups whose access to financial services remains limited. LMDF focuses on women, youth and those living in rural areas. The difference between women and men who hold accounts at financial institutions in the countries in which LMDF invests is evident. In nearly every instance, the proportion of men with accounts is noticeably higher. It has been estimated that, in developing countries as a whole, only 50% of women have bank accounts.
The same can be seen when it comes to borrowing money: there is a considerable disparity between the amount of men and women borrowing funds. This has a particular impact on small and medium-sized enterprises lead by women.
Yet the benefits of providing access to financial services to women have been shown to be prodigious. This is why the Fund pays particular attention that loans granted by MFIs each as many women as possible. Throughout its history, women have constituted a large majority of all clients served. The Fund has consistently provided more than 70% of its funding to women.
The distribution of female micro-entrepreneurs varies quite widely in the portfolio countries. Although there is little correlation between the proportion of female micro-entrepreneurs helped and the gender equality in each country, one trend does stand out. In the countries classed as having a low ranking in terms of gender equality, a smaller proportion of women are helped.