Women's World Banking Blog

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Explore the latest global and regional insights from Women’s World Banking’s work in policy, leadership, women’s entrepreneurship, gender lens investing, and more.

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Five Design Principles to Help Reach and Serve Cambodian Young Adult Women

By Ker Thao, Maria Serenade, and Elwyn Panggabean Globally, the emerging youth population presents a potential for economic growth. However, youth in developing countries also still face barriers to access financial services, such as three of 10 million Cambodian young adults who remain financially underserved. Youth savings, in particular, has

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Products & Solutions

Digital Financial Services: Account Activation Toolkit

Digital financial services (DFS) are rapidly becoming a transformative force in driving financial inclusion and economic growth and empowerment. Low-income women often face specific challenges in accessing financial services, which hinders their economic empowerment. By enabling women’s participation in DFS, we address gender inequality, promote economic participation and bolster overall

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Products & Solutions

Closing the Access to Skills Gap: Resource Roundup  

As part of our work focused on closing the skills gap, we are collating in one place resources from Women’s Digital Financial Inclusion (WDFI) Advocacy Hub coalition members to help governments, financial service providers and civil society organizations ensure every woman has access to initiatives that can increase her confidence

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Products & Solutions

In Conversation with Wema Bank’s Adekunle Alarapon: In a Digitally Dominant Era, Physical Touchpoints Remain Essential for Financial Inclusion

Adekunle Alarapon (ACIB, CDEF) is Head of Retail Segments for Wema Bank Plc, where he holds responsibilities for Agent Banking & Financial Inclusion, Gaming & Entertainment Business, Workplace Banking and Female Gender (Sara) Propositions. Mr. Alarapon has more than 20 years of banking experience in operations, control, commercial, retail and

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Products & Solutions

Policy Advocacy Across Indonesia: A Promising Beginning for Women Ultra-Micro Entrepreneurs

By Vitasari Anggraeni, Elwyn Panggabean, Freya Nadira Women’s World Banking identifies regulations, mandates, or country level priorities such as presidential mandates or G20 recommendations that can be the driving force for women’s financial inclusion and engagement. During the 2022 G20 Presidency, held by Indonesia, women’s entrepreneurship served as one of

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Event

Unlocking Credit for Women-Led Micro Businesses

By Pallavi Madhok, Director, Advisory Services – South Asia, Women’s World Banking Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are the country’s economic growth engines. Many MSMEs have struggled to sustain themselves in the aftermath of the pandemic and require financial support to overcome the economic downturn. Women-led small businesses –

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The Savings Mobilization Replication Toolkit

Few financial products and services are developed with the needs of the low-income woman customer in mind or account for the challenges that a low-income woman might face. Many financial products are not set up to sustain the continued interaction required to create the trust that the low-income woman needs

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Products & Solutions

#ItsHerEconomyToo Interview Series: How One Indian Fintech Company is Advancing Women’s Digital Equity

In this series we dive into the work happening around the world with Women’s Digital Financial Inclusion Advocacy Hub partners, and explore how they are driving women’s digital financial inclusion. As evidenced by this year’s Global Findex Report, digital financial inclusion isn’t just an urgent moral imperative, but an economic one

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Products & Solutions

How to get low-income women to save in bank accounts

By Angela Ang and Elwyn Panggabean, Women’s World Banking Last year, we collaborated with Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI), one of Indonesia’s largest state-owned banks involved in distributing benefits of the PKH (Program Keluarga Harapan or Family Hope Program), a conditional cash transfer program for low-income families. Together, we developed an

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Products & Solutions

Women’s World Banking Celebrates Milestone Anniversaries and Achievements of Network Members

For 43 years, Women’s World Banking’s Global Network has played a vital role in advancing our mission of empowering low-income women through financial inclusion. This Women’s History Month, we are celebrating milestone anniversaries of eight of our Network Members, showcasing their achievements in advancing women’s financial inclusion and gender equality.

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Products & Solutions

International Day of the Girl: Women’s World Banking Highlights

Today we celebrate Day of the Girl, because every young woman carries with her the potential to change the world and drive economies that prosper. Donate today and help us continue to honor International Day of the Girl through our youth savings work: Women’s World Banking is proud to work

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Products & Solutions

Accelerating Adoption of Digital Financial Services: Replicating a digital account usage solution for factory workers in Cambodia

By Whitney Mapes, Elwyn Panggabean For low-income women worldwide, digital financial services can act as a stepping stone to greater financial inclusion, yet barriers to activating usage have prevented women from realizing their full benefits. Among the many obstacles women face to using digital financial services are a lack of

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Products & Solutions

Report: The Power of Jan Dhan: Making Finance Work for Women in India

Women’s World Banking’s first industry report in India highlights the design of its unique ‘Jan Dhan Plus’ solution, and learnings from a subsequent pilot study that helped nurture regular savings behavior among low-income women in the country. To understand women’s savings behaviors, Women’s World Banking worked with Bank of Baroda,

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Products & Solutions

Why Isn’t Movable Collateral Working for Women in Mexico?

Women around the world are less likely to own fixed assets than men. They are also are less likely to access credit for their businesses, resulting in an often cited $17 billion credit gender gap among entrepreneurs. And when they do get credit, they are given smaller loans than their

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Products & Solutions

Deepening Women’s Financial Inclusion through G2P Programs: Building Savings Behavior among PKH Beneficiaries in Indonesia

By Angela Ang, Andi Setianto, Whitney Mapes, and Elwyn Panggabean As COVID-19 has exposed economic fault lines around the world, governments have responded by extending economic lifelines to the most vulnerable populations. According to the World Bank, at least 200 countries and territories have offered some kind of COVID-19-related financial

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Products & Solutions

Women’s World Banking and the Australian Government’s Renewed Partnership for 2020-2024: Advancing Women’s Economic Empowerment in Southeast Asia

By Julie-Ann Guivarra, Ambassador for Gender Equality, DFAT and Mary Ellen Iskenderian, CEO & President, Women’s World Banking In 2016, Women’s World Banking and the Australian Government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), teamed up to build a more secure and prosperous future for low-income women in

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Products & Solutions

Women’s World Banking, AID:Tech and Binance Charity Foundation to Expand Microinsurance to Two Million Women

Women’s World Banking, AID:Tech, and Binance Charity Foundation sign memorandum of understanding (MOU) to design new technology platform to accelerate scale of Caregiver microinsurance product New York, USA – November 8, 2019 —Women’s World Banking, AID:Tech, and Binance Charity Foundation today announced a partnership to design a new technology platform

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Products & Solutions

Building Digital Capacity for Women in Bangladesh

Project overview: Women’s World Banking partnered with Dutch Bangla Bank Limited (DBBL) in Bangladesh with generous support from the MetLife foundation to understand why women are not engaging with digital financial services. Specifically, we looked at DBBL’s Rocket mobile wallet account usage. This work with DBBL will not only help

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Products & Solutions

Making Mobile Money Work for Women

With a growing gender gap in financial inclusion in Bangladesh, it is imperative to understand the behavioral barriers women face when engaging with digital financial services.

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Products & Solutions

Powering Economies by Investing in Women

Women’s World Banking’s recent Making Finance Work for Women Summit brought together leaders from the public and private sectors, investors, and researchers to discuss, debate and create the solutions to drive women’s financial inclusion globally.

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Products & Solutions

How to Create Financial Products that Win with Women

Often, many financial services providers only superficially tailor their products in order to reach the women’s market. If f they are to reach this untapped segment, they must articulate a clear business case, avoid being “gender-neutral” and use gender segmentation during product design and to meet women’s needs.

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Products & Solutions

Tanzanian Teens Want To Save Too

Banks know that Tanzania’s growing youth population are eager savers and enthusiastic users of mobile money but younger teens are ignored. That’s a big mistake.

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Products & Solutions

CNBC Africa | Why Africa Needs Mobile Banking

Martha Oluwatobi is the proud owner of a market stall in Lagos, Nigeria. She sells minerals used for health benefits by expectant mothers who routinely buy small amounts of clay-like ingredients a few times a week.

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Products & Solutions

The complexity of increasing demand for microinsurance and what we can do about it

The poor are vulnerable to risk, a cause of persistent poverty. Microinsurance is one solution to mitigate risk, yet demand remains disappointingly low. This article looks at lessons learned and selective recommendations for increasing demand, based on academic studies and the experiences of over 60 innovation partners of the ILO’s Impact Insurance Facility.

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Products & Solutions

Microinsurance Product Overview

Why is it important to serve low-income women with microinsurance products? In this one-pager, we provide a brief summary of our product development approach and an example of a successful product rollout.

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Products & Solutions

Rural Credit Product Overview

Why is it important to serve low-income rural women with individual lending products? In this one-pager, we provide a brief summary of our product development approach and an example of a successful product rollout.Modify your meta description by editing it right here

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Products & Solutions

Savings Product Overview

Why is it important to serve low-income women with savings products? In this one-pager, we provide a brief summary of our product development approach and an example of a successful product rollout.

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Products & Solutions

Youth Savings Product Overview

Why is it important to serve low-income youth with savings products? In this one-pager, we provide a brief summary of our product development approach and an example of a successful product rollout.

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Products & Solutions

CGAP | Five Things Any Youth Savings Program Needs

Savings Specialist Ryan Newton blogs about the five key lessons about designing sustainable youth savings programs, based on an evaluation of Banco ADOPEM’s (Dominican Republic) youth savings program, developed together with Women’s World Banking.

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Products & Solutions

Deepening financial inclusion for microentrepreneurs in Mexico

Mexico is one of the most populous countries in Latin America so it is not surprising that they have one of the largest number of microfinance clients: a whopping six million borrowers which is roughly 5% of the population (2013). Yet there is something distinct about how microfinance has developed

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Products & Solutions

Individual Lending to Microenterprises in Mexico: A Survey of Constraints and Opportunities

With support from McGraw Hill Financial, Women’s World Banking sought to gain a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities for financial institutions to offer individual microenterprise lending to low-income entrepreneurs in Mexico. This report highlights findings that we hope will spur financial institutions to reach this underserved market.

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Products & Solutions

The “who” matters in delivering financial education

The financial education industry as a whole has stopped short in examining who or what kind of individual is most successful in delivering financial education. We share our experience of three different educator profiles in various projects around the world.

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Products & Solutions

Women’s World Banking in 2013: From Access to Inclusion

Our President and CEO Mary Ellen Iskenderian introduces our 2013 Annual Report: In the last three years we have completed 27 research studies on the lives of low-income women; reached 1.2 million clients in 24 financial institutions with new products; and trained more than 200 leaders of financial institutions.

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Products & Solutions

An unintended secret: microinsurance in Morocco

With support from Agence Française de Développement, Women’s World Banking went to Morocco in March of this year to meet with rural and urban clients of the institution to help AlAmana solve the mystery of why clients weren’t using their microinsurance.

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Products & Solutions

Just the tip of the iceberg: the hidden costs of healthcare in Uganda

“How much did you spend on healthcare last time you were hospitalized?” That was the question Women’s World Banking’s research team posed to more than 70 participants of focus groups organized in Uganda early this year as part of our project to introduce a health microinsurance product with our local network member. The question seems straightforward enough, a simple matter of sums. As we found however, most of the participants were not aware of the full cost of their hospitalization and even severely underestimated it.

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Products & Solutions

The long road to medical treatment in Uganda

Finance Trust Bank and Women’s World Banking are working together to develop and offer a health microinsurance product to help alleviate the financial burden of major illness for their low-income clients. We began our product development work as all Women’s World Banking projects do: with in-depth market research. Specifically in Uganda, we needed to understand the usage, needs, financing and costs for healthcare among low-income people, as well as their awareness of insurance.

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Products & Solutions

Diamond Bank Storms the Market: A BETA Way to Save

In 2012, an estimated 64 percent of Nigerians were unbanked and had never accessed any formal financial services or products, a number that is higher for women: nearly 73 percent of all Nigerian women are unbanked. This number does not include figures for the underbanked—men and women who have had

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Products & Solutions

Youth Cannot Be Ignored

Youth savings specialist Ryan Newton blogs about the youth panel during the “Building Women-Focused Finance” Conference in Amman, Jordan, November 20-21, 2013.

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Products & Solutions

Savings: A Gateway to Financial Inclusion

For poor women, access to a safe place to save and build assets is as important as access to loans. Women’s World Banking knows from its research that poor women are inherent savers. In this publication, we share the findings of our most recent savings work, including a three-year project with four of our network members.

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Products & Solutions

Microinsurance: The win-win-win value proposition

MFW is a client-centric institution that prides itself on striving to meet their clients’ needs. In the process of analyzing the life cycle of their clients, they realized that there are many circumstances where clients face health-related issues that involve many expenses and often loss of income, all of which have a negative impact on the financial stability of the household, maternity and child birth being the most common. With Women’s World Banking’s support and product development expertise, MFW set out to create a product to cover clients facing those health emergencies.

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Products & Solutions

Adding Gender to the Microfinance Bottom Line

Jaclyn Berfond, Senior Associate for Strategy at Women’s World Banking guest blogged on the Center for Financial Inclusion blog on the important of measuring a financial institution’s gender performance in order to know and track whether they are serving women well.

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Products & Solutions

CGAP | CGAP blogs about our work in Nigeria

Antonique Koning, a microfinance specialist at CGAP, blogged about our work on promoting financial inclusion for low-income women in Nigeria through the use of savings products and innovative outreach and delivery strategies.

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Products & Solutions

From Access to Inclusion: Educating Clients

Women’s World Banking considers clients’ financial goals and needs, the institution’s business objectives, and the existing market for financial services and information. We then work with the institution to develop a financial education strategy that uses existing delivery and communications channels and fits within client and business routines.

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Products & Solutions

Lessons from Syria: building resilient microfinance leadership in the Middle East and North Africa

Around the end of August, the weeks leading up to the Women in Leadership program (WIL) in Jordan, my team was glued to the news watching the events unfolding in Egypt, Syria and across the Middle East. Egypt had called a state of emergency and the Syrian crisis had come to a head with reports of chemical weapons and talk of a military strike. It was precisely this regional uncertainty that made it so important for us to go forward with the Women in Leadership program in Amman in September.

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Products & Solutions

Building the Business Case for Youth Services

Youth Savings specialist Ryan Newton was cited as a resource for her work with our network member PEACE MFI S.CO on the UNDCF/ Mastercard Foundation report “Building the Business Case of Youth Services.”

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Products & Solutions

Innovation Case Study Series

Innovation in product development and internal processes allows institutions to deliver on the double bottom line of financial and social returns. Innovation requires strong leadership and a clear vision.

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Products & Solutions

Fact sheet: Rural Credit in Latin America

Women’s World Banking, with the support of the Inter-American Development Bank and the Multilateral Investment Fund, developed rural credit products that extend financial inclusion for women entrepreneurs in Peru, Paraguay and Colombia. This fact sheet details the challenge, objectives and initial results of the project that will run until December

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Products & Solutions

A guide on how to serve youth through savings accounts

All this week Women’s World Banking has been focusing on our youth savings work in honor of International Youth Day 2013. To cap it off, we’d like to share our extensive and interactive guide for deposit-taking microfinance institutions looking to offer or improve a youth savings program for their market.

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Products & Solutions

What do girls want?

In 2008, Women’s World Banking began working with XacBank in Mongolia to develop a youth savings and financial education program, with support from the Nike Foundation, as part of the Girl Effect initiative.

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Products & Solutions

Savings work with Banco ADOPEM featured

Our savings work with Banco ADOPEM, our network member in the Dominican Republica, was featured in a local media outlet, Informate Diario, for promoting a savings culture to low-income communities in outlying areas.

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Products & Solutions

Helping low-income women protect their assets: microinsurance

In a recent project we worked with our network member Microfund for Women (MFW, Jordan) to launch Ri’aya (The Caregiver Policy). Ri’aya is a unique micro‐health insurance product that provides a cash benefit after hospitalization to help with costs associated with loss of business, medical expenses, transportation and other household needs.

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Products & Solutions

Financial Literacy in Cairo

Microfinance has been operating in Egypt since the 90’s; however this has not created a market of savvy borrowers. Through our market research we found that the façade of interest-free Islamic loans has created a lack of clarity around interest rates and compounded the issue of low financial literacy among men

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Products & Solutions

Saving for the Future: Youth Savings

The total global population of girls ages 10 to 24 is expected to peak in the next decade. According to market research conducted by Women’s World Banking, girls as young as 10 years old regularly accumulate money, actively manage it and want a safe place to save it. Ana Laura lives in a low-income

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Products & Solutions

Cash Management Toolkit

This Cash Management Toolkit is part of a suite of practitioner guides and tools developed by Women’s World Banking for use by microfinance institutions (MFIs). It integrates closely with the Tool for Developing a Financial Risk Management Policy (Women’s World Banking, 2005) and expands on the fundamental guidance regarding liquidity risk management provided there. Cash Management includes all activities related to the efficient planning, procurement, investment and control of cash in a financial institution.

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Products & Solutions

Portfolio Analytics Toolkit

As the microfinance industry continues to shift its focus into understanding client’s needs and more effectively targeting specific segments, it is essential for management to understand an institution’s performance based on data.

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Products & Solutions

Solutions for Financial Inclusion: Serving Rural Women

Using Uganda as a case study, Women’s World Banking set out to better understand the needs of rural women and to use the research and lessons learned there to make recommendations on the design and delivery of microfinance products within Uganda and throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

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Products & Solutions

Diagnostic to Action: Microfinance in Africa

Something decidedly new is on the horizon in Africa since the mid-1990s. Many African economies appear to have turned the corner and have moved towards a path of faster and steadier economic growth. Their performance between 1995 and 2005 has reversed the economic collapses that marked the period from 1975 to 1985, and the stagnation that was rife between 1985 and 1995. Moreover, per capita income is now also increasing in tandem with other developing countries.

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Products & Solutions

Equity Valuation Toolkit

This toolkit gives MFI managers the theoretical understanding and practical examples to conduct an equity valuation of their institutions.

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Products & Solutions

How Microcredit is Changing Villages in India

The book Saris on Scooters, which tells inspiring stories of women in India who have overcome many obstacles and successfully built businesses using small loans, features a foreword written by Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President of WWB.

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Products & Solutions

Product Development For Girls – Girls’ Savings And Financial Education

This case study published by Making Cents International was featured as part of their Youth Inclusive Financial Service Case Study Series and details how Women’s World Banking has helped one of its network members, XacBank (Mongolia) design and roll-out savings products and financial education programs for girls ages 14 to 17.

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Products & Solutions

Marketing for Microfinance

Marketing for Microfinance is designed as a reference guide for microfinance organizations seeking to develop their marketing capabilities.

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Products & Solutions

Credit Scoring in Microfinance

This paper outlines the design and implementation of credit scoring policies based on Women’s World Banking’s experiences working with network members and presents factors to consider when introducing credit scoring including cost, staff training, scoring policies, data collection and reporting.

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