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Press Release: On International Women’s Day, Leaders Gather to Discuss Women’s Financial Inclusion in Mexico

Aspen Institute México and Women’s World Banking host the first of a series of events focused on women’s financial inclusion in Mexico. This event is supported by the Prosperity Fund run by the British Embassy in Mexico City.

For Immediate Release:
March 8, 2018

Contact: Maura Hart, +1 212 556 3156 or meh@womensworldbanking.org

MEXICO CITY—On Thursday, March 8th, International Women’s Day, The Aspen Institute México and Women’s World Banking will gather leaders from the government, research and financial services sectors to discuss an issue critical to the economic empowerment of women in Mexico: access to and engagement with the formal financial system.

According to the World Bank’s Global Findex, only 39 percent of women in Mexico have access to an account at a formal financial institution. The event, Making Finance Work for Women: Increasing Women’s Financial Inclusion in Mexico will examine the current challenges and opportunities for reaching women with vital financial products and services across the country.

“On International Women’s Day we reflect on one of the greatest challenges to women’s equality: the gender gap in access and usage of formal financial services. Mexico shows great promise in its commitment to women’s financial inclusion, but there is significant work ahead of us to ensure that low-income women are not left behind,” said Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO of Women’s World Banking. “We’re thrilled to gather such an innovative and committed group of leaders to discuss how we can work together to reach these women successfully and sustainably.”

Women’s World Banking is a global nonprofit, which partners with banks, mobile network operators, governments and other key stakeholders around the world to develop innovative products and effective strategies for reaching low-income women. In Mexico, the organization has worked with private sector players like Compartamos Banco to improve women’s access to loans in their own names to grow their businesses. Women’s World Banking has also worked with Prospera Digital, as part of a consortium of partners led by the Coordinación de Estrategia Digital Nacional (CEDN) of the Mexican government, to promote financial inclusion of more than 7 million Prospera beneficiaries, 98 percent of whom are women.

The Making Finance Work for Women event will be held in partnership with the Prosperity Fund run by the British Embassy in Mexico, the National Digital Strategy Coordination of Mexico Presidency’s Office and Universidad del Valle de México. In the first panel, participants will examine the barriers preventing women from accessing financial products, and in the second panel, participants will identify and discuss emerging solutions to overcome these barriers.

“Financial inclusion creates better and more equal opportunities for people to improve their living conditions. It fosters economic justice and allows all citizens to contribute to a productive economy and society,” said Adalberto Palma, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute México.

The Aspen Institute Mexico is a nonprofit organization that develops activities linked to education, leadership and public policies through the promotion of open and balanced dialogue, in topics related to the most complicated problems of society, and to attain a better world along the principles of democracy, equity and justice.

According to The Aspen Institute México, the issue of inclusion is of the upmost importance to the development and growth of the country. Given the socioeconomic and orographic conditions, dispersion of localities, regulatory challenges, and the low credibility that commonly exists in formal financial institutions, a large part of the population and businesses do not enjoy a full financial inclusion. The Aspen Institute developed a chapter called Inclusive Mexico within the institution’s Economic Development and Equity program. In February 2017, the institution brought together experts from the private and public sectors and academia to provide information and analysis on the prospects for achieving financial inclusion.

Sophie Marment, Head of the Prosperity Fund at the British Embassy in Mexico, added “Through our Prosperity Fund Programme in Mexico we aim to reduce gender inequality in the financial services sector, particularly through increased financial inclusion for women. The UK Gender Equality Act requires the British Embassy to meaningfully consider gender inquality and the empowerment of women and girls, men and boys, in all our programming and we look forward to working with our Mexican partners to deliver increased financial inclusion and improved financial services for women in Mexico.”

Bernardo González-Aréchiga, Institutional Rector of Universidad del Valle de México added: “Strengthening the financial culture and access to formal banking services contributes to the economic independence of women and thereby increases their options, either to boost their own business and raise their income, or also to escape difficult situations, including domestic violence. At Universidad del Valle de México we promote a culture of empowerment of women and combat gender based violence. Financial inclusion can be a valuable tool for that purpose.

As co-hosts, Women’s World Banking and Aspen Institute México join forces and talents for a series of convenings devoted to increasing women’s financial inclusion in Mexico, of which this event is the first.

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