Policymakers have the opportunity to play game changer in driving women’s financial inclusion efforts. However, a strong, gender-diverse team within the regulatory body needs to be in place to amplify these efforts. Women’s World Banking and AFI’s Leadership & Diversity for Regulators program provides the tools to design inclusive policies and build a pipeline of women leaders.
When women are fully included in the economy, the benefits to economic growth, social well-being and developmental outcomes are tremendous. Yet despite huge growth in financial inclusion driven by digital technology–515 million more adults had formal accounts in 2017 compared to 2014—women’s access to and use of financial services continues to fall behind men. The gender gap in financial inclusion has stubbornly remained at 9percent in developing economies, since 2011.
While much of the focus in closing the inclusion gap has centered around the technological disruptors in the private sector, a quiet but powerful group of stakeholders have the capacity to become true game changers in financial inclusion. Policymakers and central bankers can accelerate women’s financial inclusion by setting the strategy and creating an enabling environment for their national financial services ecosystem.
Few national financial inclusion strategies have a gender focus
According to the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), in order for policy measures to ensure gender-equal advances in financial inclusion, they must be country-specific, based on each country’s gender gap and unique challenges and opportunities. Unfortunately, only 28 AFI members have made Maya Declaration commitments on gender and women’s financial inclusion.
A program to enable inclusive financial regulation…
Recognizing the role of financial regulators to driving significant progress in women’s financial inclusion, Women’s World Banking and AFI are pleased to introduce a brand new program for senior officials from central banks and other regulatory agencies in emerging markets: Leadership and Diversity for Regulators.
This program equips participants with technical and strategic know-how to create policy and leadership skills to affect change. Most importantly, senior officials apply these skills in real-time: each participant must identify and develop a policy initiative related to advancing women’s financial inclusion in their home country as part of the program.
…and build a pipeline of women leaders at regulatory organizations.
But the program is called Leadership and Diversity Program for Regulators; how does diversity play into this issue?
The program pairs the senior official with a high-potential woman leader from within their organization, with whom to partner throughout the program. Women’s World Banking will equip the senior official with tools s/he can use to provide career sponsorship and thereby model an approach for building a pipeline of gender-diverse talent within the institution. In AFI’s Special Report on Gender Diversity, it found that only 5 AFI members were headed by a woman, with 31 AFI members with women deputy heads.
The nine-month experience begins in January 2019 and includes ongoing virtual learning and a week-long intensive at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School’s campus.
Through Leadership and Diversity for Regulators, Women’s World Banking and AFI will support financial regulators in developing policies that close the gender gap in financial
inclusion and build the women’s leadership pipeline in regulatory organizations. Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis until November 2, 2018.
For more information about the program, visit the program page or if you’re interested in being part of the inaugural class, apply now.
This program is made possible with support from Visa Foundation.