Mary Ellen Iskenderian Presents

There’s Nothing Micro About a Billion Women

Making Finance Work for Women

There's Nothing Micro about a Billion Women Cover
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Microfinance is not the only solution for women’s financial inclusion

Our President and CEO, Mary Ellen Iskenderian, illustrates in her recently published book that it takes more than microloans to empower women and promote sustainable, inclusive economic growth. Going beyond the facts and figures, There’s Nothing Micro About a Billion Women illustrates with personal stories of numerous female clients in emerging markets around the world the transformative effect of financial inclusion for women, their families, their businesses, and their communities. Mary Ellen also lays out a convincing business case for closing the gender gap in financial services by exploring the powerful macroeconomic benefits that would accompany women’s full inclusion in the financial system.

Watch Mary Ellen's MIT Press Video on Youtube
Additional Annual Revenue

Why Financial Inclusion Should Matter to Service Providers

Loans Icon

$17 Trillion

in loans to MSMEs
Piggy Bank Icon

$2 Trillion

in deposits
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$50 Billion

in life insurance premiums
Revenue Icon

$700 Billion

additional revenue*
In Conversation with the author

Championing Inclusive Finance to Empower Women

Q&A with Author Mary Ellen Iskenderian

In this Q&A installment, Mary Ellen outlines the fundamentals and far-reaching benefits of financial inclusion, the concrete actions financial service providers can take to close the gender gap, and the role of Women’s World Banking in championing inclusive finance.

Line of Sight: Episode 37

Mary Ellen tackles the core themes within her book, There Is Nothing Micro About a Billion Women, such as the field of financial inclusion, the complexity of an untapped market, clearing the roadblocks and making a business case for financial inclusion, gaining support for this business case at scale, the ethical responsibility of policymakers to address financial inclusion, and the implications of data privacy and predatory lending practices in making this change.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Simplecast

CEO Secrets: BBC News

Mary Ellen Iskenderian shares her business advice for the BBC News CEO Secrets series.

Author Mary Ellen Iskenderian
Reviews & endorsements

Praise for There’s Nothing Micro About a Billion Women

“Mary Ellen Iskenderian makes a persuasive case for why giving women access to financial services will transform their lives and their societies. This book combines inspiring stories, rigorous evidence, and decades of wisdom from working on financial inclusion. A great read that will make you feel hopeful about the transformative power of finance for women.” —

Minouche Shafik
Director, London School of Economics
Author of What We Owe Each Other

A comprehensive look at how to bring more women into the global financial system… The book’s holistic approach to financial inclusion—addressing insurance along with the ability to save and borrow and drawing connections between financial empowerment and gender-based violence—adds a valuable layer to the discussion and expands on the existing literature… An engaging and wide-ranging look at new developments in banking access.” —

Kirkus Reviews

“In her book, Mary Ellen Iskenderian reminds us to ask where our bank finance flows and how much is used for building unequal wealth or destructive institutions that harm humans and the natural environment. How do we promote ‘nurturing finance’ that eliminates violence and inequalities and brings peace to the people and society? Women’s financial inclusion, with its focus on the community rather than the individual, is part of the answer.” —

Ela Bhatt
Founder of India’s Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA)

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