In June this year, Rwanda will roll out the second phase of the economic recovery fund, which is designed to support business activity and put the economy back on the right footing. The announcement, which was made at this week’s meeting of the officials from the government and development partners, coincided with a new report highlighting gender-based exclusion in the country. The FinScope 2020 report says that despite improvements, women still lag behind their male counterparts in terms of financial inclusion, hence denting efforts meant to promote women economic empowerment. The government has initiated various programmes that have helped bridge the gender gap—including propelling women to senior leadership position and increased the enrolment of girls in schools among others. However, some challenges have persisted. Compared to men, women still have less access to digital and financial services—making it hard for them to carry out transactions, payments, savings, access credit and insurance products. In addition to limitations with income, the report states that broader societal issues such as cultural norms and belief systems, limited access to land or property, family responsibilities and mobility constraints are the other challenges affecting women’s levels of financial inclusion. We don’t know yet the full extent of how the Covid-19 crisis has exacerbated these challenges. However, whereas we all have been affected by the pandemic—from being confined at home, to losing jobs and loved ones—vulnerable groups like women appear to be bearing the brunt of the virus. Majority of women are employed in the informal sector, which is the hardest hit by the pandemic. For instance, restricted mobility aimed at dealing with the virus has hurt women in informal cross-border trade. In addition, the lockdowns exposed some women to various cases of gender-based violence and exacerbated their burden of care work. This is why all policies aimed at rebuilding the economy must account for the impact of Covid-19 on women; from supporting women businesses to underscoring their role in mitigating the impact of the pandemic. The FinScope report says that when women actively participate in the financial system, they can better manage risk, smooth consumption in the face of shocks, or fund household expenditures.