Exploring Covid-19’s impact on women’s economic empowerment and building resilience through equitable and inclusive financial systems

NEW YORK, NY — The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on gender equality, and years of progress could be reversed. From losing their jobs faster than men, to increases in domestic violence, and inability to access female healthcare, the pandemic has exposed and exacerbated already existing gender gaps, especially for unbanked and underserved women. However, we have also seen positive action in addressing some of these challenges — for example, the rapid activation of government-to-person (G2P) payments aimed specifically at women. It is against this backdrop that, on October 20-21, 2020, Women’s World Banking and industry experts will convene for the annual Making Finance Work for Women Virtual Summit to discuss how we can help women recover from the current economic and health crisis, and build resilience against the next.

The two-day virtual Summit will gather industry leaders and practitioners as they look to drive action towards financial inclusion and improve financial resilience for women. Using an innovative virtual platform, the Summit will consist of interactive sessions, plenary panels, and presentations of global research on a range of topics including: the widening gender gap, crisis recovery, wage digitization to leadership & diversity, gender lens investing, and G2P payments. It will feature thought leaders from the financial services, regulatory, policymaking and technology communities such as Leora Klapper, Lead Economist at the World Bank; Jo Ann Barefoot, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Alliance for Innovative Regulation; Matthew Gamser, Chief Executive Officer of the SME Finance Forum; Ari Batubara, Minister of Social Affairs, Republic of Indonesia; and Graham Macmillan, President of Visa Foundation,

“As the world grapples with one of the most dangerous and disruptive events of our lifetimes, the inequalities millions of women face in their daily lives are multiplying. To fuel economic recovery, we must focus our efforts on strengthening women’s resilience and economic empowerment, and guaranteeing their continued access to financial services,” said Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and Chief Executive Officer of Women’s World Banking. “The Making Finance Work for Women Virtual Summit has become a critical convening for global efforts towards gender equality through women’s economic empowerment. This year we will highlight the critical role financial service providers and governments can play by working together to speed the recovery from the global pandemic. Putting financial services into a woman’s hands is a crucial and necessary step toward building a more prosperous, equitable, and inclusive post-pandemic world.”

The virtual Summit will also feature Women’s World Banking’s second Fintech Innovation Challenge which identifies innovations designed to drive financial inclusion for women. The two grand prize winners will move on to compete in the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) Global FinTech Hackcelerator (powered by KPMG Digital Village) during the Singapore FinTech Festival in December 2020. Attendees will also hear from 2019 Grand Prize winners Sitati Kituyi, Chief Technology Officer of Pula and Ana Barrera, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Aflore, who will share how startups are rising to the challenges posed by Covid-19. The Challenge is sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Ernst & Young LLP (EY), and Novi.

“We received an overwhelming number of applications for this year’s Fintech Challenge, with over 100 submissions from 41 countries,” said Iskenderian. “The Fintech community is prioritizing financial inclusion like never before, and has the ability to implement solutions that will put women on a sustainable path towards financial security.”

The Summit will conclude with a virtual networking session where attendees will have the opportunity to dialogue with speakers and industry experts, participate in live video chats, and meet members of Women’s World Banking’s Global Network of Partners.

The Making Finance Work for Women Virtual Summit is presented by Women’s World Banking with support from leading sponsors Visa Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The event is made possible with additional support from Ernst & Young LLP (EY), Facebook, Credit Suisse, Lord Abbett, Boston Consulting Group, MetLife Foundation, Novi, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), and White & Case.

As a leading sponsor, Visa Foundation is proud to support Women’s World Banking: “We believe that when women have access to the financial tools that they need, they, their families, communities and businesses thrive,” said Graham Macmillan, President, Visa Foundation. “This year’s Making Finance Work for Women Summit is a timely reminder for us all that we must double our efforts to ensure that the gains made in women’s economic empowerment in the last few years are not reversed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

For more information, follow @womensworldbnkg at #MFWW2020 and to purchase tickets for the Making Finance Work for Women Summit, please visit: womensworldbanking.org/making-finance-work-for-women-2020

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About Women’s World Banking

Women’s World Banking designs and invests in the financial solutions, institutions, and policy environments in emerging markets to create greater economic stability and prosperity for women, their families, and their communities. With a global reach of 51 partners in 28 countries serving more than 67 million women clients, Women’s World Banking drives impact through its scalable, market-driven solutions; gender-lens private equity fund; and leadership and diversity programs. To learn more about Women’s World Banking, visit womensworldbanking.org.

Media Contacts

Kate Stence ks@womensworldbanking.org

Andy Woolnough aw@womensworldbanking.org