Women world over face a stream of biases and stereotypes almost everyday. Though some of us may be lucky to have faced just a few or even none at all, there is no second question of their ubiquity. These biases and the resulting skewed perception of opportunities mean women need additional support to make a mark for themselves in their chosen field.
Now, what’s this additional support we’re talking about? Think about it for a moment. What’s the one thing that stops women from achieving their dreams? What hinders their education, healthcare, job opportunities, and the life they want to live? What makes them particularly vulnerable and denies them a chance to move forward with their lives?
Honestly, we can come up with a bunch of answers to these questions. But the one answer that we want to explore on this International Women’s Day is digital identity and the trusted data it creates. Currently, one in two women in the world don’t have an identity document to prove their credentials. As a result, they are unable to access education, skill training, loans for businesses, jobs, benefits from government schemes, etc.
The good news is, this situation is changing, thanks to the emergence of technologies that are driving the adoption of digital identities and supporting the secure sharing of personal trusted information to others. A subset of digital identity is decentralised identity, an emerging concept that empowers women and for that matter, any individual, to own a digital identity and control its storage and use. It also simplifies the process of sharing one’s identity with relevant entities. All this means women can instantly share their identity and the associated trusted data to access the services they want.
If all this sounds far-fetched, sit back and read through this article as we share some projects that are empowering women through data ownership and digital identity.
Affinidi Finnovate,a business unit of Affinidi, is at the forefront of serving underbanked and under-served SMEs in the ASEAN region.
Using trusted data, Finnovate strives to provide a more inclusive financial ecosystem that meets the needs of those who are unable to join the formal financial system due to a lack of required documentation.
Do you know that women represent 60% of unbanked adults in Asia? Affinidi Finnovate can be the lifeline for all these women, from street vendors who depend on microloans for their everyday operations to women entrepreneurs who want to start their own ventures.
AID:Tech, a company working at the forefront of digital iden tity, decentralisation, and blockchain technology, has been partnering with Women’s World Banking to ensure that microinsurance reaches millions of women around the world.
World Banking’s Caregiver is an affordable microinsurance product that provides life insurance to women. Also, it offers cash benefits to make up for lost wages or a loss in business due to maternity and hospitalisation. In other words, it offers a financial safety net for women and empowers them to be financially independent during their recovery. More importantly, it prevents them from getting pushed into extreme poverty.
It has successfully touched more than two million women across Uganda, Egypt, Morocco, and Jordan, and is in pilot phase in India. So far, AID:Tech’s platform (built on the Affinidi tech stack) has created a digital identity for women and through it, has paid more than 120,000 claims.
Affinidi GoodLoans provides loans to blue collar workers and marginalised sections of the society, who otherwise would find it hard to access credit. Most times, these people don’t have the necessary digital identity and trusted data to prove their creditworthiness, and hence, are unable to get loans to start/expand their businesses, learn new skills, and more.
Though GoodLoans applies to people of all genders, it is expected to have a far-reaching impact on women in India. Currently, women who don’t have a digital identity can’t get a loan through formal banking channels and have to look at alternate options that may carry a high rate of interest. Affinidi GoodLoans will change this scenario by providing women with the loan they need for starting a business or enhancing their employable skills. The payment and their progress will be tracked through their digital identities.
Yoma is a digital platform that enables young people to enhance their skills and find the opportunities that interest them. It is seen as the first digital community that democratises opportunities for the youth.
This platform allows young people to share their academic records and experiences in the marketplace and participate in Yoma programs to receive verifiable credentials that attest the skills they have gained through such programs.
This program is available for youth of all genders.
The above projects are just the beginning of a journey towards empowerment and a step forward in creating digital identities for every single individual in the world so they can access the services they need. We can’t wait to see a world where every individual owns his/her data and shares it securely with the entities they want.
Before we wrap up, we’d like to leave you with some quotes from women who are taking us closer to this world that we dream of. They are transforming the digital identity space and making it more accessible and usable to the world. Let’s see what they have to say on this International Women’s Day.
We hope these women inspire you to join the decentralised identity community to make a difference for yourself and others around you.