PRESS RELEASE | Global leaders gather in Berlin to advance financial inclusion for women

November 9, 2015

Women’s World Banking hosts international summit: Making Finance Work for Women

BERLIN—Leaders from finance, mobile technology, payments and consumer brands will join government representatives, microfinance pioneers and more in Berlin this week to examine the latest and most promising trends in financial services for low-income women. The Making Finance Work for Women Summit, hosted by global nonprofit Women’s World Banking, will take place November 11-12 at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

“The remarkable range of participants joining us—from Central Bankers to tech entrepreneurs—is a testament to the rising realization that women are the most dynamic market segment in the world,” said Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO of Women’s World Banking. “We threw out the term ‘charity’ a long time ago when it comes to women’s access to finance. Low-income women are a tremendous market opportunity, and financial services for women are an undeniable imperative for economic growth.”

More than one billion women globally do not have access to financial services. According to the most recent World Bank Global Findex data, the number of people worldwide with a bank account grew by 700 million between 2011 and 2014. However, the gender gap in those three years remains unchanged. Women are still nine percentage points less likely to have a bank account than men in developing countries.

“We can’t stand by while this gender gap persists. We know that women suffer without access to formal financial services, but we also know the community and the economy suffer,” said Iskenderian. “How will we reach full financial inclusion for women? This summit is an opportunity to hear from the game changers on how to close this gap.”

The summit will feature a series of conversations examining innovations and emerging best practices in financial services for women. Speakers will discuss the latest data, how digital channels are poised to deliver an increasing range of financial products, and the critical role that partnerships—from impact investors to technology and consumer product companies—will play in growing this market.

The event will conclude a notable week for women’s issues in Berlin. From November 9-10, the German Presidency of the G7 will host Economic Empowerment of Women—Unlock the Potential in partnership with BMZ and Women’s World Banking. G7 leaders will hear from noted experts who are reaching women through business, financial and education programs. Iskenderian will join a panel on financial inclusion to discuss how Women’s World Banking works with financial institutions around the world to design financial products for women—from savings to insurance to loans for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

“Chancellor Merkel has made women’s economic empowerment a cornerstone of her policy framework for this year’s G7 agenda. We are honored to join the G7 conference and continue the discussion at our summit this week,” said Iskenderian.

The Making Finance Work for Women Summit is presented by Women’s World Banking with support from Chair and Presenting Sponsor GlobeOne and Principal Sponsor Oliver Wyman. The event was made possible by local supporters BMZ, Deutsche Bank, GIZ and KfW. For more information, visit and follow @womensworldbnkg at #MFWW15.