Digital Finance, Financial Inclusion and Gender Equality: Digital Public Goods, Rearchitecting Financial Systems and Economic Empowerment of Women

About the Key Contributors:

Douglas Arner, Kerry Holdings Professor in Law at The University of Hong

Douglas Arner is the Kerry Holdings Professor in Law and RGC Senior Research Fellow in Digital Finance and Sustainable Development at the University of Hong Kong, where he leads a team focusing on the role of finance, technology and regulation in supporting broader sustainable development. He is a CFTE Advisory Board Member, a Senior Fellow of the University of Melbourne and a non-executive director of NASDAQ listed biotech firm Aptorum. Douglas has advised dozens of countries and international organisations across the world on financial sector development strategies. He leads Introduction to FinTech, the largest FinTech online course on edX, with over 130,000 learners from (almost) every country in the world.

Dr. Evan Gibson is an Assistant Professor at The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Dr. Evan Gibson is an Assistant Professor at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Professor Gibson specialises in banking law, financial law and regulation, corporate law, financial technology, regulatory technology, economic law and comparative law. He has authored, co-authored and edited numerous peer-reviewed articles, books, book chapters and reports with inter alia Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Edward Elgar, Routledge, Sweet & Maxwell and the Asian Development Bank.

Sangita F. Gazi, Stanford Law School, Yale Law School, Rutgers University and Hong Kong University

Sangita F. Gazi is a Transatlantic Technology Law Fellow with Stanford Law School, a Research Fellow with Yale Law School, a Senior Research Fellow with Rutgers Law School and a final year of Ph.D. student at the University of Hong Kong. Her doctoral research delves into the macroeconomic implications of central banks’ innovation policies, particularly with regard to Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) and the use of law as a macroeconomic tool to mitigate potential adverse effects stemming from novel CBDC policies. She has published peer-reviewed articles on payment systems, digital currencies, and regulatory and supervisory technologies in journals such as the Cambridge Law Review, the Banking and Finance Law Review, and the Arkansas Law Review.

Introduction to the Paper

Gender equality is an international right and policy objective affirmed in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. In a new CFTE Policy Research Paper, we examine how technology can address barriers to gender equality and financial inclusion in relation to identification, contractual, employment and property rights. The most significant barriers restricting women’s access to finance are in developing countries. New technologies and digital public infrastructure offer significant opportunities to rearchitect financial systems to economically empower women and drive forward balanced sustainable development. We argue that a functional regulatory approach can remove customary gender-based barriers and technology-driven gender bias to build an inclusive digital financial ecosystem in the post-COVID-19 era. This is critical for achieving gender equality, female empowerment and women’s unabridged financial and economic participation in developing countries and around the world.

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