While the phrase “women empowerment” has circled around, tossed and bounced at debating circuits, podiums and platforms; it is alarming to witness that real reformation still feels like a distant dream. In a world where wage gaps are a norm, gender diversity is disproportionate and glass ceilings strongly intact; empowerment remains a utopia. Today, women make over half of the world’s population, yet their contribution to measured economic activity is below its potential, resulting in their socio-economic marginalization. Similarly, accessing financial services remains a pertinent concern. Whether, it’s low level of literacy, cultural restraints, lack of legal identification or constraints with time and mobility; women struggle to become independent due to their financial dependency. In Pakistan, where patriarchy runs deep, women, especially those belonging to semi-urban and rural backgrounds are facing a deep conundrum. Less than 5% of women in Pakistan have bank accounts.
Committed to bringing about a transformative change to the lives of their women workforce, Ghar Par, an at home professional beauty service business, has been quick to embrace the digital-financial revolution. With 40 female beauticians working with them, providing door-to-door services; Ghar Par has proudly integrated with SimSim; a mobile account, propelling a transformation in the lives of these women who now have access to a multitude of financial services. Upon inquiring the positive impact created by their employer in their lives, one of the beauticians recalled an unfortunate incident prior to this change. She shared being tormented by her drug addict husband, who would snatch her hard-earned daily cash for his own needs, leaving her in a fix to compensate the amount from her own pocket. Like her, there are many more women who had experienced such situations on a regular basis. In essence, breaking free from cash has enabled women to also break free from the clutches holding them back .Now they can ascertain a sense of control over their finances using it to emerge from her dismal conditions. SimSim is the first bank account ever held by these women allowing them to now transfer funds online to the head office instead of physically traveling to and fro. This has enabled them to spend that valuable time and money more productively. Consequently, by implementing a digital financial service, Ghar Par has set an example of how employers can add real value to the lives of their workforce. Through this, several barriers pertaining to accessibility, security, privacy and convenience have been surpassed.
Explaining this further, the CEO of the company remarked, “Joining forces with Pakistan’s first digital one-minute current account has created new avenues for our employees, while streamlining our internal operations manifold.” She further added, “Not only has it become super swift to disburse their daily earnings with ease, but now they have access to instant transactions, secure payments and a savings account of their own which they couldn’t fathom in the past.”
Undoubtedly, the future of women’s financial inclusion is entrenched in digital technology. Aptly recognizing this fact, Ghar Par’s integration with SimSim has opened a gateway for women which transcends financial access. It has induced a behavior change which encourages them to leverage the services that only men had access to in the past. Ghar Par has become the catalyst of change in their lives through which they can now become a part of a movement to enjoy free, frictionless and real-time transactions. On an average day, they can now pay bills, enjoy instant top ups, get advance on salary, purchase goods and service from the online marketplace, and more. Things that they were heavily dependent on their male counterparts in the past.
As a result, Ghar Par has heralded a reformation in the economic status of women in Pakistan. Being on the SimSim platform, they have embarked on a journey to acquire financial inclusion and stability. She can now plan ahead for herself and her loved ones, have a backup plan for rainy days and stabilize her income by building her credit history to avail a loan in the future.
Indeed, all these factors pivotal for her liberation, one click at a time.