Swami Vivekananda had once famously said that the real prosperity of a nation can be gauged by the progress of its women. Economically empowering women and acknowledging their contribution to the growth of a country is imperative since they represent half of the global workforce.
In a country like India where a distinct buzz around entrepreneurship and startups can be heard frequently, the number of women entrepreneurs is still low. Leave alone entrepreneurship, a woman can't even get a simple loan without being dependent on her father, husband, brother or another male member of the family. Despite the phenomenal acumen and success of women in various fields, credit is usually a far cry for them.
Besides the many undeniable societal issues, banks and other mainstream financial institutions still consider women as risky debtors, doubting their ability to repay. Whether it's the entrepreneurial skills of a woman or her importance as a breadwinner of the family, financial institutions are usually reluctant to extend credit.
With peer to peer lending, Lendbox, have largely ironed out the impediments for women to access loans and credit. Barely months into operation, Lendbox has been able to mobilise lenders to extend credit to Indian women. Data analytics has confirmed that most women seeking credit are educated, independent and financially aware.
The numbers, so far, have been encouraging. Though in its early days, it has been a major indicator regarding the growing popularity of P2P lending that doesn't have the usual trappings of a bank. The algorithms used for determining the credit profile of a borrower doesn't discriminate between genders. P2P is a far superior lending system that cuts down human subjectivity and comes up with a true credit profile of the borrower. It's in sync with real risks. For the lenders on a P2P platform, it's the basis of their decision.
These are early days for P2P lending in India. But the system has the potential to bridge the gender divide. In the days to come, P2P will play a more important role to secure the economic sovereignty of women