Title: Director of Research
Reports to: Vice President of Advocacy and Policy
Classification: Full-time
Location: New York, New York
Start Date: Immediate

For more than 40 years, Women’s World Banking has partnered with financial institutions to demonstrate the benefit of investing in women as customers. We equip financial service providers (FSPs) with data-driven insights to develop new financial products and services that advance low-income women’s security and prosperity. While our clients include commercial banks, microfinance institutions, and fintech companies, our mission is to engage the nearly 1 billion women who remain marginalized from the formal financial system.

Position Summary:
Women’s World Banking seeks a Director of Research who brings an expertise in using the power of research insights to advance low-income women’s financial inclusion globally. The successful candidate will lead research activities across the organization: within global research projects focused on understanding what facilitates women’s financial inclusion; within Women’s World Banking’s solution development projects focused on translating customer insights into action-oriented learnings that can drive decisions on the design of innovative financial solutions for women customers; and within evaluation work investigating the impact of financial services on women’s lives.

The successful candidate will:

  • Contribute technical leadership on rigorous qualitative and quantitative research methodologies to Women’s World Banking’s global research and solutions projects
  • Lead research projects and develop a strategic research agenda that synthesizes learnings within and beyond Women’s World Banking, advances the global evidence base on women’s financial inclusion, and influences key stakeholders including financial services providers, donors, regulators, and investors
  • Manage a four person research team composed of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods researchers
  • Integrate research approaches into solutions development processes, collaborating within highly interdisciplinary teams of researchers, designers, and business and product specialists
  • Conduct qualitative research within global research and solutions projects

The successful candidate will bring to this role technical expertise in a range of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, commitment to leverage research insights to influence key stakeholders and collaborate closely with the policy and advocacy team to drive action on financial inclusion. The candidate will also bring demonstrated ability to build partnerships with financial service providers and the private sector, substantial people/team management experience, and a clear vision of the strategic research needed to influence key stakeholders to advance women’s financial inclusion and economic empowerment in emerging markets.


  • Lead the development of a research agenda and strategy for Women’s World Banking, focusing on key evidence gaps around women’s financial inclusion that Women’s World Banking is best positioned to address to drive action
  • Oversee a portfolio of global research projects, scope new research activities, and leverage research findings to identify and feed a pipeline of potential new partnerships and business opportunities for Women’s World Banking’s solutions work
  • Within solutions development projects, work with solution team to identify problem statement, drive qualitative research design, select appropriate research methods in the context of client needs and constraints, collaborate with team members, develop research instruments, oversee data collection, synthesize and share insights, and pitch findings to influence key stakeholders
  • Maintain rigor, integrity, and quality of research and set standards within the organization through capacity building activities, research methods workshops, technical advising to the research team, experimentation and development of new methods, and codification and dissemination of best practices
  • Contribute to design of impact and/or process evaluations of solutions projects in key markets
  • Ensure adherence to research ethics across the research portfolio and compliance with IRB for specific studies
  • Work closely with the Design Team to select research methodologies that serve the needs and requirements of solution development projects
  • Collaborate with the Policy and Advocacy team and Communications Team to synthesize and disseminate research findings in alignment with Women’s World Banking’s knowledge and influence strategy
  • Represent research at Women’s World Banking by communicating key findings through diverse channels, including peer-reviewed journal articles, donor reports, conference presentations, and blogs
  • Serve as a bridge between Women’s World Banking’s research and the broader community of practice on financial inclusion through active participation in external policy, industry, and research dialogues; maintaining currency on women’s economic empowerment and financial inclusion literature; and building partnerships with other research organizations
  • Contribute to knowledge management strategy and synthesis of key learnings across research and solutions projects within Women’s World Banking
  • Manage a staff of four researchers, providing technical backstopping, regular guidance, and professional development

 Required Qualifications:

  • At least 10 years of experience leading applied research in financial inclusion and/or women’s economic empowerment
  • At least 5 years of experience in a senior management role, leading a team of direct reports
  • Master’s degree or PhD in Anthropology, Sociology, Development Economics, Political Science, Gender/Feminist Studies, Development Studies, or other relevant discipline
  • Publication record and depth of knowledge in women’s financial inclusion, digital financial services, government-to-person (G2P) transfers, women’s economic empowerment, poverty reduction, and/or gender and social norms in emerging markets
  • Demonstrated ability to lead research design in emerging markets within short timelines and business constraints to produce robust and relevant insights that meet public and private sector client needs
  • Expertise in mixed methods, including randomized control trials and other impact evaluation methods, qualitative evaluation methods, and the ability to select appropriate qualitative and quantitative methods suited for the context and project goals
  • Demonstrated ability to conduct qualitative research in complex environments, including semi-structured individual interviews, key informant interviews, participant observation, and/or focus group discussions
  • Demonstrated experience and passion for translating complex concepts and research findings into actionable insights, compelling customer narratives, and accessible, well-written reports and presentations
  • Experience developing and implementing an organizational research agenda, and translating research outputs into thought leadership aimed at key financial inclusion audiences
  • Successful track record in hiring and closely managing research firms to collect large-scale survey and qualitative data, ensuring data quality
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, empathy, and proven record in effectively managing relationships with highly diverse, cross-functional and multi-cultural teams, in-field clients, key stakeholders and consultants
  • Excellent communication skills with internal and external stakeholders with an outstanding ability to build consensus
  • Poise under pressure, ability and willingness to adapt and learn from others, prioritize and manage multiple assignments concurrently, and meet deadlines while ensuring quality and attention to detail
  • Willingness to take on significant travel (20-30%) to emerging markets to conduct and supervise qualitative and quantitative data collection and partnership building
  • Work experience with low-income populations in one or more of Women’s World Banking’s priority markets (Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria)
  • Experience with both qualitative and quantitative analysis software such as NVivo, ATLAS.ti, Stata, SPSS, R, or Python

 Preferred Qualifications:

  • Proficiency in one or more of the languages spoken in Women’s World Banking’s priority markets (Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria)
  • Experience using research to identify behavioral science heuristics and biases concepts
  • Familiarity with and/or experience analyzing financial service providers’ administrative data

Within the first 75 days:

  • Role model Women’s World Banking’s values – Think big, Own and commit to it, Smarter together
  • Learn and comprehend the Women’s World Banking business model;
  • Understand Women’s World Banking’s strategy and role of research in delivering on the strategic objectives
  • Obtain solid understanding of research engagements with immediate ownership and oversight of the research portfolio
  • Develop research agenda in line with strategic objectives and in collaboration across teams
  • Develop resource model to sustainably support solutions related research as well as global research projects

To apply for this position:

  • Submit a cover letter and CV
  • Submit a research writing sample
  • Submit a semi-structured interview guide, research plan, or other qualitative data collection tool

Women’s World Banking is an equal employment opportunity for all regardless of race, color, citizenship, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, veteran or reservist status or any other category protected by federal, state or local law.      EOE    M/F/V/D