This paper measures the impact of financial inclusion on women’s empowerment in Kerala State, India, and Chittagong, Division, Bangladesh. We define financial inclusion as the provision of savings accounts to the unbanked population. We found that women in Kerala participated fully with men in large purchase decisions in the post-financial inclusion period. Participation by all family members in household finance decisions increased in Chittagong, following the ownership of savings accounts by women. Mean differences showed increased participation by women in purchases of clothing, fuel, education, medical expenses, food, loan repayment, social and religious expenses, savings accumulation, furniture, and livestock purchases. Financial inclusion increased savings in both locations. Financial inclusion increased income, social consciousness, and psychological empowerment, respectively, in Kerala.
women’s empowerment, financial inclusion, savings, Kerala, Chittagong