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Elisa Martinuzzi

The Fintech Express Is Leaving Women Behind

Technology hasn’t closed the gender gaps in wealth and financial inclusion.

Getting into fintech.

Getting into fintech.

Photographer: Petras Malukas/AFP

Technology was supposed to broaden access to financial services and help eliminate economic inequalities. But so far the explosion of banking and investment apps has failed to narrow one persistent divide: the gender gap in financial inclusion. Policy makers should take note. In the post-pandemic recovery, they cannot entrust the market forces of fintech to support female economic empowerment.

There are many ways in which women’s financial inclusion lags that of men. They own fewer assets than men, for example, but they are also less likely to invest in riskier, higher-yielding assets, such as equities. A 2019 analysis by Germany’s Comdirect, which offers online stockbroking, showed that for every female investor on the platform, there were three male counterparts. Robinhood Markets Inc., the U.S. trading app that took the stock market by storm this year, reports that women make up roughly 30% of its active customers.