2019 Summit Recap: Day 2

The second day of the 2019 Summit explored a wide range of topics related to building resilience for female employees and customers as well as organizations. Read on for a quick recap of key insights from each session:

Decision Makers: A Conversation with Women’s Market Leaders

In Day 2’s opening session, senior leaders, including the Financial Alliance for Women’s Inez Murray, The City Bank’s Mashrur Arefin, BLC Bank’s Nadim Kassar, BNCR’s Ruth Alfaro and Zanaco’s Charity Lumpa, had an open discussion on why they made the strategic decision to focus on the Women’s Market, what have been the key challenges and lessons learned, and how they have been able to champion work around gender equity. The panelists also discussed the impact (both positive and negative) of disruption on their strategy for the Women’s Market and the importance of personal leadership in their journey. 

Fireside Chat: Measuring Progress for Women

Measuring progress for women goes beyond program performance – it can also help companies increase transparency to employees, customers and investors. The Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index has become the gold seal for companies around the world that want to publicly demonstrate commitment to gender equality. In conversation with the Alliance’s Rebecca Ruf, the Index’s Kiersten Barnet shared why Bloomberg created the index, some of the key trends and results they are seeing, the importance of sex-disaggregated data and what’s next for the Index.

Securing Women’s Health and Well-Being

Despite undeniable progress over recent decades, women around the world still face many disadvantages when it comes to health conditions and access to healthcare. New technologies like telemedicine, AI and wearables, as well as new innovations promise to improve health research and healthcare, driving successful prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Some of these technologies are poised to transform the health industry, especially in regions where providing access to basic health services remains a major challenge. Featuring Anne Ravanona of Global Invest Her, Sandrine Coulange of AXA, Caroline Noublanche of Apricity, Pura Mendez of Banco BHD León and Ada Udechukwu of Access Bank, this session explored technological trends driving the financial sector and examples from financial services providers that are building comprehensive value propositions for women and their families around this most critical area of life. 

Alliance Talk: Women by Design

In an engaging talk, Mastercard’s Amy Neale shared the company’s research on women business owners, the latest on how the company is supporting them and a special look at the Alliance’s partnership with Mastercard: Women by Design.

The Implementers: A Conversation with Women’s Market Managers

Offering women the holistic value proposition they need to succeed requires considerable capabilities on behalf of the Women’s Market managers and their institutions. Perennial issues such as financing start-ups and very small enterprises, offering valued non-financial services cost effectively, and getting buy-in across distribution channels are a constant challenge for Women’s Market program managers. This session drew on the everyday experiences of those responsible for implementing programs, including NatWest’s Yvonne Greeves, BLC Bank’s Carine Fersan Choueiry, HBL’s Danysh Hashmi, Stanbic Bank Zambia’s Chanda Katongo and Garanti BBVA’s Selin Oz,  with moderation from the Alliance’s Karyl Akilian. 

Diversity & Inclusion Workshop: Creating an Inclusive Culture

Company culture can be one of the biggest barriers to effectively implementing any gender strategy, whether customer- or employee-facing – and there are significant barriers to delivering culture change. If managers do not understand and acknowledge that there may be systemic biases that disadvantage women employees, then diversity and inclusion policies and practices will face resistance and be less successful. This workshop, featuring Mercer’s Robert Baker,  explored how we can create an inclusive culture from the perspective of the employer and employee. Solutions presented included engaging leaders and getting those in positions of power to support the changes, examining “unconscious bias” and its impact in the workplace, and ensuring equal opportunities for all employees.

Creating Market Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs

Female entrepreneurship is on the rise worldwide. Forbes notes that “worldwide, women-owned businesses are expanding in number and in size, throughout an ever-wider range of industries.” At the same time, WEConnect International research reveals that global corporate spend to women-owned businesses is less than 1 percent. ITC’s data shows that only one in five exporting companies are women-owned, and that women face greater procedural obstacles to trade. In this session, moderated by IFC’s Sharmila Hardi, WEConnect International’s Elizabeth Vazquez, NatWest’s Julie Baker, BNP Paribas’ Simla Unal and Business Development Bank of Canada’s Laura Didyk shared their best practices on supporting women to access markets. 

Reaching and Adding Value to Un/Underserved Women

While the global gender gap of 9 percent in access to financial services is persistent, particular sub-segments in which women are over-represented, such as informal/semi-formal very small businesses remain vastly underserved. Similarly, women – particularly in emerging markets – are vastly un-served or underserved in terms of insurance. With ConsumerCentriX’s Anna Gincherman, AXA’s Marta Santamarta, Fundación Capital’s Yves Moury, African Management Initiative’s Patricia Maina and BRAC Bank’s Mehruba Reza, this session explored new approaches to serving marginalized women, including innovations in adding value for them via access to better financial products that cater to lifecycle needs, to information, to financial and business education, and to networking opportunities.

Leveraging Technology to Serve the Client of Tomorrow

While digital services threaten personal relationships between financial services providers and customers, digitization offers a tremendous upside – enabling the delivery of a unique customer experience on one side, and huge cost efficiencies on the other. From providing a personalized user journey experience to integrating their services seamlessly in the customer’s everyday life, IFC’s Andrew McCartney, DFS Lab’s Jake Kendall, Mastercard’s Bunita Sawhney and TEB’s Mehmet Ormanci explored the increasing use of technology to serve the client of tomorrow and innovative technologies they are using to transform the customer experience and offer the holistic value proposition that women need: access to knowledge and markets as well as finance. 

WFID Partnership Roundtable

The second in the Women’s Financial Inclusion Data Partnership Roundtable series, this discussion with the Alliance’s Rebecca Ruf, Data2X’s Mayra Buvinic and UNSGSA’s Eric Duflos focused on the importance of sex-disaggregated data to financial services providers to target and better serve women, and dissected the challenges and solutions to getting more financial services providers to collect, use and report sex-disaggregated data.

The second day of the Summit concluded with the Financial Alliance for Women’s annual Women’s Market Champion Awards. Click through the gallery to take a look at our winners in attendance:

The City Bank
New Program Award
Engagement – Africa
Engagement – LAC
Engagement – Europe
Engagement - Asia
BLC Bank
Outstanding Engagement
Banco BHD León
Bold Advertising
Diversity & Inclusion
Access Bank
Bank Al Etihad
Outstanding Contributor
Lifetime Achievement