Investing in digital financial capability is essential to support women navigating increasingly digitalized financial systems. A woman who is digitally and financially capable can evaluate, choose, and use financial services that enhance her life. Investing in her digital financial capability can contribute to meaningful access to and usage of financial services. This can be a positive step in improving economic opportunities for women and their families.

Approaches that work for women require going beyond traditional financial education to approaches that may require more time, support, and a deeper understanding of the social and gender normative constraints that prevent women from realizing their economic potential.

This publication shares how we can improve the design and delivery of digital cash transfers for low-income women using a four-phased approach: diagnose, design, deliver, and document. It presents examples of promising interventions tailored to women’s needs and realities and offers practical suggestions and tools for market and ecosystem actors to support women’s digital financial capability.

This series — created in partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP), the Center for Financial Inclusion (CFI), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — shares how we can improve the design and delivery of digital cash transfers for low-income women. 


Julia Arnold


An expert in gender and financial inclusion, Julia Arnold serves as a consultant for CFI. From 2020-2022, she worked as CFI’s Senior Director of Gender and Financial Inclusion. Julia has more than 12 years of experience in inclusive finance, leading implementation and research projects across a range of customer- and provider-focused topics such as digital financial inclusion, financial capability, and microsavings. Julia brings an understanding of the enabling environment needed to catalyze real change for women’s economic lives, as well as a deep understanding of the microeconomic constraints to women’s empowerment. Prior to CFI, Julia was Financial Inclusion and Livelihood Specialist at the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) where she led mixed-methods research and primary data collection for evaluations and gender analyses, as well as curriculum development for youth and adults, focused on household dynamics and livelihoods. Before this, she was a consultant working with a diverse range of clients such as MetLife Foundation, CGAP, the World Bank, CFI, and others. Julia holds a master’s degree in international development from American University in Washington, DC.

Evelyn Stark

Former Vice President, Knowledge and Programs

Evelyn served as CFI’s Vice President of Knowledge and Programs where she managed research on women’s financial inclusion, fintech, and MSEs, as well as CFI’s measurement, evaluation, and learning activities and other special projects. Prior to joining CFI, Evelyn developed and executed MetLife Foundation’s financial inclusion and financial health strategies leading a global team focusing on both low- and high-income markets. Evelyn began her career managing special asset (non-performing) portfolios in the United States before moving to Uganda where she led a microfinance industry-building program and provided strategy and operations support to MFIs, projects, and international organizations as a consultant. Following her time in Uganda, Evelyn worked with USAID’s office of microenterprise development and on the Financial Services for the Poor team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on programs across a range of issues: poverty measurement, conflict-affected regions, savings, and digital financial services.

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