The Guardian | How to address the stubborn gender gap in banking across the globe

March 23, 2015

Our President and CEO Mary Ellen Iskenderian was interviewed for an article in The Guardian about closing the persistent gender gap in access to finance, “How to address the stubborn gender gap in banking across the globe”.

Barriers to entry

Mary Ellen Iskenderian who heads Women’s World Banking, a nonprofit working with banks in developing countries to bridge the gender gap, says part of their work is convincing financial service companies that women are indeed excellent clients. “With small tweaks, specific to design and marketing, banks can easily tailor their products to women,” she says.

Iskenderian adds the regulatory barriers frequently preventing women from taking out a loan in their own name, or owning a home, also mean women frequently lack the correct collateral to put against a bank loan. Additionally, in developing countries, women-owned enterprises are typically small enterprises (versus medium to large ones,) which risk-averse banks typically view as non-viable investments. “This problem connects directly to the kinds of small enterprises women tend to go into: service businesses, food-related businesses, garment or textile manufacturers,”

Read the full article.