In early 2015, the World Bank’s Global Findex provided us with a global “report card” on access to financial services around the world. The good news: the number of unbanked adults worldwide dropped by 20 percent. Unfortunately, the gender gap in access to financial services did not shift at all. Globally, women are 7 percent less likely to have access to a bank account, up to 9 percent in developing countries.
The persistence of this gap is frustrating, but it is increasingly clear to us that gender parity in financial inclusion is a problem we can solve. Now more than ever, we know what it will take to get there and if last year is any indication, we are well on our way.
That is why I am truly excited to announce the release of our digital 2015 annual report and share our progress toward bringing innovative financial services to women around the world. The women we serve are our inspiration and their lives are proof that the work we do is instrumental to stronger families, communities, and the global economy.
With generous support from our donors and enthusiastic collaboration with a greater variety of partners than ever before, Women’s World Banking is bringing basic financial products and services to more and more low-income women worldwide. We are achieving this in the following ways:
- Learning.We share knowledge with financial institutions and partners to research, design, promote and evaluate financial products for women around the world.
- Leading. We are a leading global advocate for women’s financial inclusion. We are using our voice to help shape policy and influence global leaders who can help reach the one billion women around the world without access to financial services.
- Investing. We are investing in women-focused financial institutions and the diverse leaders who run them. Through our private equity fund, we are investing in financial institutions that understand how serving women clients can provide both a social and financial return. At the same time, our suite of leadership and diversity programs ensures that financial institution leaders are well-trained, diverse and focused on their mission.
I proudly invite you to browse our 2015 Annual Report. We look forward to another successful year as we strive closer to reaching our goal of providing financial services to the more than 1 billion unbanked women globally.