Women and Trade: Gender’s Impact on Trade Finance and Fintech
Woman-owned firms engage differently with finance for trade. The barriers they face in starting and running a business are well-known. Yet, this offers little insight into how they finance their business once globalized. Surveys indicate that finance is often the primary barrier to trade. We seek to deepen and modernize this finding by using a unique data set to explore the patterns of financial access exhibited by woman-owned exporting firms. We show that women face two levels of exclusion in access to finance―access to basic finance and access to trade finance. The latter is driven by characteristics common to firms owned by women. Also, in line with existing work, we show that woman-owned firms tend to turn to informal finance as an alternative more than their male counterparts. However, we also show that women are more likely to adopt fintech as a financial solution than men. This suggests that policies aimed at incentivizing banks to lend more to women may not be solving the right problem.