Empowering women through financial literacy crucial for economy - ministry

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“Let’s Talk Money” comic books produced by NBC to promote awareness about managing money. Photo supplied

Financial literacy among women is a vital tool in empowering them to become an important income generating factor in Cambodia’s economy, said Lok Chumteav Chan Sovry, Secretary of State of Ministry of Women’s Affairs.

Speaking in conjunction with the Financial Literacy Event organised by the National Bank of Cambodia, she said “financial literacy in women is a very important tool for promoting gender equality and empowering them economically.

“When women have skills that can contribute to a greater income generating role, they will have more economic power and play a bigger role in their family’s wellbeing as well as have greater independence,” she said.

She added that investing in women’s economic activities is a way to improve employment opportunities and family living conditions, including reducing poverty.

“By empowering women and improving access to health, nutrition and education for women, girls, and the whole family, enhances labour productivity for families and communities as a whole.

“This means that women and families will be better equipped to access and use the financial services in greater numbers as more women become financially literate,” Sovry said.

She stressed that while access to financial support services is not the only way to develop and build a better business, but having knowledge in finance is vital for family development.

Sovry said “In Cambodia, women are often regarded as playing key roles in keeping and managing family budgets. When women have better financial knowledge, it goes a very long way in managing the family’s budget even better.”

According to the Ministry of Planning 2011 census on Cambodia’s businesses, out of a total of 513,759 enterprises, there 61 per cent were led by women, mostly in micro enterprises and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

Currently, we have two women entrepreneurs’ associations.

They are the Cambodian Women Entrepreneurs Association (CWEA) and the Cambodian Women’s Business Federation (CWBF), with over 500 members.

According to reports by these two associations, access to financial services for micro and small enterprises remains one of its main challenges.

“Part of today’s programme, we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the NBC and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA) to promote the financial inclusion of women and women in entrepreneurship,” she said.

Sovry said that one of the main aims of her ministry is to contribute to reducing the percentage of women who have not yet received any sort of financial services by half (from 27 per cent to 13 per cent) by 2025.

Sovry said the main aim is to increase awareness in financial services for women, enhance access to credit for women entrepreneurs in the micro and small enterprises, and cooperate with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.