Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO of Women’s World Banking at AusAID Canberra. Photo: Jessica Abigail / AusAID
The head of Women’s World Banking, Mary Ellen Iskenderian, visited Australia this week to meet with staff, including AusAID’s Director General, Peter Baxter.
Women’s World Bankingis the world’s largest network f microfinance institutions and banks focused. It provides hands-on technical services and support to 39 top-performing microfinance institutions and banks across 27 developing countries. Of the 19 million clients served by the Women’s World Banking network, 73 per cent are women.
In 2010-11, Australia began a new partnership with WWB. WWB works with AusAID’s key partners and programs, including in the Asia Pacific region. Australia is one of four core funders to WWB. AusAID shares Women’s World Banking’s vision that one day all women will be able to build a secure financial future for themselves and their household and we are proud to be seen as a global leader on these issues.
World Bank data shows that the Asia-Pacific region is losing $42 to $47 billion per year because of restrictions on women’s access to employment opportunities and another $16 to $30 billion per year because of gender gaps in education. More than 2.5 million people are currently excluded from the global financial system. Women’s World Banking, with support from AusAID, is committed to ensuring that this economic access gap is closed.
There are as many as 2.7 billion adults in developing countries—or almost three quarters of the adult population—who do not have access to banking services. Access to financial services can promote social inclusion and build self-confidence and empowerment, in particular among women.
Addressing an all-staff seminar, Ms Iskenderain talked about building women’s leadership and participation in microfinance across the developing world. Ms Iskenderain also discussed the importance of microinsurance, one type of financial product designed to target the poor.
Microinsurance has tremendous potential to provide security and stability to a poor household. As of 2009, it is estimated that only three per cent of the low-income population in the world’s 10 poorest countries have a microinsurance product, leaving approximately two billion people unserved.
Click on the link to read the rest of the article on AusAUD’s website: Visit to Australia by Women’s World Banking CEO and President