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Studies on Balkan and Near Eastern Social Sciences – Volume 3

Edited By Rasim Yilmaz and Günther Löschnigg

The third volume of «Studies on Balkan and Near Eastern Social Sciences» is a collection of empirical and theoretical research papers in the social sciences regarding the Balkans and the Near East written by researchers from several different universities and institutions. The book addresses economic, financial, political, sociological, international relations, health, cultural, and feminist issues in the region of the Balkan and Near East. The book is aimed at educators, researchers, and students interested in the Balkan and Near Eastern countries.

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The Importance of Financial Literacy for Women’s Financial Inclusion

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Introduction

Financial inclusion, measured as access to and use of formal financial services, has become a subject of growing interest for researchers, policymakers, and other financial sector stakeholders since financial inclusion is important for the economic and financial development of a country. Furthermore, in developing countries it can help to reduce poverty. With an access to formal financial services, money can be saved safely with less risk of loss and money transmissions can be made securely. But it must be considered that access to finance is not the same as use of financial services. Access refers to supply, whereas use refers to demand. Supply-side barriers to financial inclusion such as minimum account and loan balances, asymmetric information, transaction cost, uncertainty, or lack of physical access are discussed as hindering the effective use of financial services (Beck et al., 2008). People can be provided with a supply of various financial services with reasonable costs and quality, but if people are financially illiterate, they will not be aware of this financial services and products and avoid demanding them.

The financial exclusion of women and men has different characteristics. In developing countries particularly women face many supply-side and demand-side barriers. But as women become less financially literate than men (Lusardi and Mitchell, 2011), besides the demographic, socio-economic factors, or the discriminatory laws in the country, financial literacy of women gains importance. Financial literacy can help women to be more financially included and to strengthen their economic empowerment...

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