| Daughters of Sysiphus |
|Overview of findings and recommendations|
Female heads of household were less likely to be saving than other heads of household. Nearly 60 per cent were saving nothing at all and less than 10 per cent were saving over $50 a week. Female heads of household were also more likely to be using the informal saving mechanism of the Partner than other types of heads of household. However, as with other households, the most popular savings mechanism was the commercial bank savings account.
Only 18.7 per cent of respondents had ever taken out a loan. However, this was so of only 13 per cent of female-headed households. Women who were heads of household were also more likely to have not taken out a loan because of a fear of being unable to pay than either male or joint heads of households.
1. Assisting female heads of household to save can often be of more benefit to them than direct loan extension. However, the timing of loan repayments must be designed to take into account the patterns of income flow (whether daily, weekly, monthly etc. ) and should provide for the collection of money as near as possible to the point where it is earned. The case studies indicated that savers prefer a system in which collection is organized by someone other than the saver and not simply left up to the saver's own self-discipline. This requirement should be taken into account during the design of savings systems.
2. Information should be made available to women, in a form that is comprehensible to them and attractive, concerning the ways in which various saving mechanisms work and their respective benefits and limitations. One way of doing this would be by means of a financial advisory service on radio, and/or at the community level through community centres, churches etc.
3. One of the major problems that women who are employed as domestics or factory workers have concerning banks is that they are never open when the women have time available to go to them. Flexibility in banking hours (e.g., evening and Saturday openings) would help such women to save with the formal banking institutions.