Identifying Inequalities, Strengthening the Financial System: The Case of Chile

Wednesday 27th January 2016

In 2014, Data2X, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Global Banking Alliance for Women (GBA) partnered to map the current state of sex-disaggregated data in the financial sector, both at global and national levels, with the ultimate goals of understanding the nature and scope of the data gaps and sharing lessons on its collection, value and use. The results of this research were published in the report “Measuring Women’s Financial Inclusion: The Value of Sex-Disaggregated Data.”

This year the partners, along with the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), are building on that work with a Case Study highlighting Chile, the only country that has consistently tracked sex-disaggregated data on its financial system over a significant period of time. The study explores why this was done, maps out the processes taken to generate the data, highlights current as well as potential uses of the data, and extracts the most important lessons so that regulators, policymakers and government entities in other jurisdictions can learn from the country’s experience. Below are some key takeaways from the Case Study, which will be published in its entirety next month:

  • Buy-in from the top: One of the most important success factors in the collection of sex-disaggregated was that it originated as a mandate from the highest levels of government. Having buy-in from the Presidency from Day 1 on prioritizing gender equality was invaluable in promoting the generation of the data.
  • Performance management: Linking the generation of information to internal performance management systems within government agencies was essential in ensuring that the data was consistently generated. This was accomplished thanks to cross-departmental collaboration between these agencies and complemented by training programs that ensured employee understanding of the main issues.
  • Grasping the cost: Understanding what collecting the information will require of banks and not over-burdening them was important. Chile’s financial regulator, the Superintendencia de Bancos e Instituciones Financieras (SBIF) began its process by generating most of the data with internal resources and linking the credit data to the Voter Registry to obtain sex information. Once the first phase of data had been collected and analyzed, they began requiring additional sex-disaggregated information from banks as a second phase.
  • Data is not an end: The collection and analysis of data itself is not a final goal – it should be used to understand specific issues Its generation must be closely linked with specific goals and information needs, and its utility must be fully understood across actors.

Look for a link to the full Case Study in the GBA February newsletter. A copy of the SBIF’s latest report on “Gender in the Financial System” can be found here.