2018 ANNUAL REPORT

Global Champions of Financial Inclusion for Women

Mary Ellen Iskenderian 
President & CEO

Just a couple of months ago, Women’s World Banking brought some of our closest friends and supporters together in New York to celebrate our 40th anniversary. The celebration provided an opportune moment to reflect on our legacy and our goals for the future. How fitting that our founders first conceived of Women’s World Banking in 1975 during the UN’s “World Conference on Women” which was organized to secure passage of a UN declaration on women’s human rights. Our founders recognized the need for low-income women to have access to financial products and services as an essential step toward gaining all other rights. And here we are again, at another global inflection point for women, with Women’s World Banking ready to effect even more positive change in the lives of low-income women.

For Women’s World Banking, 2018 was a year of transition to a new strategy that pushes us to use the influence gained over these 40 years to bring about change in women’s economic and financial lives at scale. Through our research on women’s needs and our work with financial service providers around the world, we’re working to tackle the systemic barriers to women’s financial inclusion and highlight the opportunities in serving the women’s market. We launched a broad array of initiatives to drive us toward our ambitious goal to reach 100 million women by 2022, thanks, in part to a game-changing grant from the Visa Foundation. In addition, we were able to focus our presence for maximum impact by developing country-specific strategies in the six markets where over 50 percent of the world’s unbanked women live: Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and Nigeria.


“Through our research on women’s needs and our work with financial service providers around the world, we’re working to tackle the systemic barriers to women’s financial inclusion and highlight the opportunities in serving the women’s market.”


We also renewed our commitment to our Global Network of partners through strategic expansion efforts and the launch of the She Counts initiative. We built on past successes by applying a women-centered design approach to our product development work; streamlining our Gender Assessment Methodology and expanding our leadership and diversity training to a new audience: financial regulators.

Women’s World Banking’s mission has never been more critical nor the cultural moment more primed to hear our message of investing in women to power economies. This Annual Report provides a snapshot of the work we’ve done in the past year; I hope it will pique your interest to learn more and to join us in amplifying that message.

Mary Ellen Iskenderian
President and CEO

@meiskenderian

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