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47% Pakistani women make important financial decisions in consultation with their husbands; 23% Pakistani men make important financial decisions in consultation with their wives.

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According to a survey conducted by Gallup Pakistan, 47% Pakistani women claim to make important financial decisions in consultation with their husbands while only 23% Pakistani men make important financial decisions in consultation with their wives. These results are part of the nationwide Access to Finance Survey conducted by the State Bank of Pakistan in 2015 with the intent of determining the degree of financial inclusivity of the Pakistani public (please see page # 4 for more details).

This special press release is one of many in a series that aim to foster an empirical understanding of financial inclusion in Pakistan and that hope to create a collaborative network of individuals working on the topic. This particular press release addresses the issue of gender gap that exists globally when it comes to financial inclusion and financial decision making. Women, within the context of the developing world and especially within Pakistan, continue to be more excluded from the financial sector than men thereby, also relying upon their spouses when it comes to making important financial decisions. Not only is there a wide gap between the number of women who make financial related decisions independently compared to men (i.e. lower proportion of women than men), there is in fact a much higher proportion of women compared to men who consult their spouses before making such decisions.

A nationally representative sample of men and women from across the four provinces was asked, “Please tell, how do you make important financial decisions?” In response to this question, 11% said that they make the decisions alone, 35% said that they make the decision in consultation with spouse, 28% said that they make the decision in consultation with other members of the household, 18% said that they make the decision in consultation with head of household and 3% said that they make the decision in consultation with someone else. 5% on the other hand, said that they do not make these decisions and 1% did not respond.

An analysis of result according to a gender breakdown reveals noticeable differences in the decision making behavior of males and females. 18% men said that they make these decisions alone contrasted by a very low 4% of women who gave the same response. Likewise, 23% men said that they make decisions in consultation with spouse while the same response was given by nearly half i.e. 47% of the women. Differences are reflected in other responses too: 33% of the men and 22% of the women said that they make decisions in consultation with other members of the household; 20% of the men and 14% of the women said that they make decisions in consultation with head of the household; 2% of the men and 3% of the women said that they make decisions in consultation with someone else; while 2% of the men and 9% of the women said that they do not make these decisions. A gendered bias is thus evident in these responses, signifying that a greater number of women do not make financial related decisions. Of those women who do make such decisions, most women are likely to consult their spouse as opposed to any other member of their household regarding their decision.

The provincial breakdown of these results has also shown differences in decision making behavior in the four provinces. A very low number of respondents in Punjab (8%) said that they make financial related decisions alone while the same response was given by 19% of the respondents in Sindh, 11% in KPK and 18% in Balochistan. Likewise, a very high 41% of respondents in Punjab said that they make decisions in consultation with spouse while only 23% in Sindh, 33% in KPK and 15% gave the same response. Regarding other family members 27% respondents in Punjab, 25% in Sindh, 32% in KPK and 42% in Balochistan said they consult their household members for decisions pertaining to financial matters. Thus there seems to be a very high proportion of respondents in Punjab who give importance to their spouse’s contribution in financial related matters.

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