The role of institutions-rules and norms-in markets is increasingly recognized in development discourse. This paper considers the role of gender relations for rules and norms in financial markets. Using evidence from Central Kenya it develops a framework for establishing the influence of gender on the demand for and access to financial services, so explaining the gender differentiated use of rotating savings and credit associations (ROSCAs). It, first, analyzes intrahousehold norms related to income and expenditure flows and their management, so identifying gendered patterns of demand. Second, by conceptualizing financial intermediaries as operating within rules and norms, it allows the influence of gender relations on access to financial services to be more systematically investigated. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.