Making Finance Work for Women for 45 Years | Sylvia Chin

April 15, 2024

To celebrate Women’s World Banking’s (WWB) 45th anniversary, we are showcasing the voices of individuals from around the world who have shaped and touched Women’s World Banking journey. These are stories from across Women’s World Banking’s reach from the women we serve and our customers, to allies and women in leadership who have contributed to women’s economic empowerment and financial inclusion.

Meet Sylvia Chin, Partner at White & Case in New York. Since September 1975 – a mere four months after we were founded – Sylvia has been integral to Women’s World Banking’s operations in New York City, providing essential legal counsel and support. It is thanks to her that Women’s World Banking is able to operate and have a home in NYC.

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Sylvia Chin during one of the first board meetings at Women’s World Banking in New York.

Shortly after, Michaela Walsh invited her to sit on the first Board of WWB.

“It was mind boggling for me to sitting in the same room with amazing women, Esther Ocloo, Nancy Barry, Ela Bhatt, and hearing their stories about the beginning of the organization.”

She recalls the inspiring story of a woman entrepreneur who started out with one sewing machine. She got a loan to buy a second one and, eventually, was able to employ others with 10 machines. She spoke about how the woman had ended up renting multiple floors and was negotiating with the landlord to buy the building itself.

It is stories like hers that drive Sylvia’s dedication to women’s economic empowerment and support for Women’s World Banking’s work.

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Sylvia with Sonja Kelly, Vice President of Research and Advocacy at Women’s World Banking, celebrating women in leadership.

“I love the research and every time they come up with a new paper, I’m going on the website, printing it and showing it around to other people and saying, ‘wow, look at this!'”

This year, The American College of Commercial Finance Lawyers is honoring Sylvia with the Homer Kripke Achievement Award, which recognizes a career of noteworthy leadership and a history of exceptional dedication to the improvement of commercial finance law and practice.

We are extremely fortunate to have supporters like Sylvia who continue to be a part of our journey and are a living testament of dedication, loyalty, and unwavering commitment to women’s financial inclusion.

Women’s World Banking is dedicated to economic empowerment through financial inclusion for the nearly one billion women in the world with no or limited access to formal financial services. Using our sophisticated market and consumer research, we turn insights into real action to design and advocate for policy engagement, digital financial solutions, workplace leadership programs, and gender lens investing.

As part of our current strategy, we’ve helped provide 37 million women in emerging markets – targeting 100 million by 2027 – access and use of financial products and services that are transforming women’s lives, households, businesses and communities, and driving inclusive growth globally.

Join Sylvia and help us reach the nearly billion women still excluded from the formal financial system. Donate now.