This International Women’s Month is an opportunity for employers to reflect on their ESG strategies and envision truly sustainable Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) agendas.

A bolder vision for DEI should be to generate lasting wealth for previously disadvantaged and underrepresented communities such as women. By helping female employees turn wages into long-term wealth, companies can play a pivotal role in enabling financial success that transforms generations.

This is the key to sustainable, long-term equality and levelling the playing field. Fintech that builds financial wellness can be a key enabler of this.

“According to research on the gender split in financial wellness by BrandMapp in 2021, a higher percentage of females than men report being worse off financially than two years ago. And men were almost 4% more likely to describe themselves as ‘much better off’.

“Furthermore, the same research finds that almost 40% of women compared to only 24% of men describe themselves as being fully or partially financially dependent on another person,” says Triya Govender, Floatpays Head of Marketing. Additionally, women’s average savings balances are about two-thirds that of men’s.

A global report by Financial Alliance for Women titled Mobilizing Fintechs to Serve Women states: “In our survey, 64 percent of fintechs that collect sex-disaggregated data found that female customers had similar or higher usage rates compared to men.”

It says this is “largely overlooked” yet presents a great opportunity for employers to use fintech as a tool to drive financial wellness among their female employees. “While these statistics are global, we believe usage rates would tell a similar story locally. At Floatpays, we view this as ‘the missed opportunity’ which is our raison d’être,” says Andisa Liba Floatpays Chief Human Resources Officer.

Employers must step in and assist

Gendered usage rates coupled with the dire need for more financial inclusion creates a space for employer powered fintech to truly make a difference. “In the South African context – where financial wellness eludes many,  it’s crucial for employers to step in and assist in creating access to reputable financial vehicles for female employees. On-demand earned wage access and savings are key areas for impact,” says Liba.

She points to Floatpays, a fintech application whose vision it is to partner with Africa’s employers to be the catalyst of financial inclusion and wellbeing among the continent’s people.

“Floatpays supports employers to help their employees build financial wellness through on-demand access to earned income, paycheque-linked savings, financial education and practical tools to plan and manage their personal finance,” says Govender.

Such a social impact-driven proposition helps move employees out of debt traps and into savings and long-term financial wellness – and it is especially critical for female employees. “According to the 2021 OMSIM report, 44% of South Africa’s mothers are single parents. This demonstrates the immense financial pressures on females to provide for themselves and future generations.

“It is critical to equip them with the education to make better personal finance decisions, supporting them with financial planning and saving, and giving them an alternative to payday lenders or high-interest ‘easy credit’ solutions when mid-pay cycle liquidity becomes an issue for employees”, says Liba.

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