Signature projects

Research on the current use of financial services and challenges among RMG factory workers in India

  • time Apr 15, 2020
  • calendar 2 min

MSC conducted research on the use of digital financial services and the associated gender gap among the workers of ready-made garment (RMG) factories in India. The outputs from this research would help BSR refine its HERfinance program in India and further strengthen the outcomes for female garment workers. We shared the results with financial service providers, factories, brands, donors, NGOs, and other relevant technical experts who work towards financial inclusion.

BSR commissioned MSC to conduct detailed quantitative research as a follow up to its preliminary qualitative research. The objective was to understand the difference in terms of gender with regard to the financial needs, behaviors, and challenges of RMG factory workers.

The research framework had two major pillars. The first was around access to financial products and services and their use, opportunities, and challenges for women garment workers as compared to their men counterparts. The second pillar covered the intended and unintended consequences of better financial inclusion, such as social behavior, financial decision-making in the household, savings and investment behavior, borrowing behavior, among others.

MSC conducted a secondary review of the Digital Financial Services (DFS) landscape, especially in the context of women in RMG factories. We conducted a quantitative study to understand the usage and adoption of DFS products and channels among RMG workers and disaggregated the analysis in terms of gender.

The findings indicated that women workers in the RMG factories have an active financial life but are more likely to struggle to operate their accounts at both ATMs and bank branches. The study also noted a significant gender gap in mobile ownership and mobile literacy—the entry points to the adoption and usage of DFS. Only a few women used services other than basic calls and SMS on their mobiles. Their uptake of financial services through mobiles was lower than that of men. Subsequently, MSC and BSR conducted a learning workshop together to disseminate the findings to the stakeholders.

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