About Microfinance interviews Mary Ellen Iskenderian

September 10, 2013

AboutMicrofinance, an aggregator and disseminator of current and authoritative information and resources on all aspects of the microfinance industry, featured an interview with Women’s World Banking President and CEO Mary Ellen Iskenderian in their Fall Newsletter.

We are excited to share with you in this issue our interview withMary Ellen Iskenderian, President & CEO of Women’s World Banking. Prior to joining Women’s World Banking, Ms. Iskenderian worked for 17 years at the International Finance Corporation and currently also serves as an Advisor to the Clinton Global Initiative.

AM:  Since its founding in 1976, Women’s World Banking (WWB) has developed a niche market in microfinance, serving and empowering women.  With a network of 39 microfinance institutions in 29 countries, how does your unique focus on women impact poverty alleviation and possibly social change?

Iskenderian: Women’s World Banking was founded as a Dutch charity and organized as a US 501(c)3 in 1985.  WWB is committed to the idea that the economic empowerment of women addresses many, if not all, development issues, since women are more likely to invest in education, healthcare, and children. Women spend overwhelmingly in sectors that alleviate poverty. One frustrating trend we’ve noticed is that although financing for women was an important feature of early microfinance – because data show poor women reliably repay their loans – commercialization has moved microfinance away from women. Larger microfinance initiatives tend to be dominated by male clients, whereas women are relegated almost exclusively to the group loan sector. This is unfortunate because WWB shows that a continued focus on women is good for business and gender equality.

Read the full interview using the link below.

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