Labour Pains: Discovering the Financial Lives of Zambian Mothers

  • January 09, 2019


While some consider the birth of a child and the beginning of motherhood a precious gift and experience, it is often more complicated. Motherhood frequently begins with labour pains and the difficulties can extend over a lifetime as women face complex financial decisions that are pivotal not only to their own lives but to their children’s and family’s. Despite the important roles that mothers play in households across geographies and income levels, Zambian women are largely excluded from the formal financial system—with only two out of five women having access to any type of formal financial service there. Gender barriers are deeply rooted in social and cultural norms that dictate roles and relationships, power and decision-making dynamics within households, access to resources, inheritance of assets, educational attainment and economic potential. While not a panacea, it is well documented1 that enhancing access to and development of digital financial services (DFS) plays an increasingly prominent part in smoothening gendered inequities and aiding women to realize their economic potential.