Wednesday 14th January 2015
2015 marks the 20th Anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the first time that the economic empowerment of women through access to financial services was built into a global mandate. It was signed by 189 countries.
In the past 20 years significant progress has been made toward achieving the goals set in Beijing regarding financial inclusion. Tens of millions of low-income women have gained access to the financial system through microfinance, and tens of millions more will continue to do so through widespread adoption of mobile wallets. Pioneer banks — GBA banks in particular — have demonstrated the business case for offering a mix of services beyond access to finance that includes access to information, education and networking opportunities. And similarly, GBA banks have established that this holistic set of services is needed by women of all income levels, in developed and in emerging markets.
But our work is not done. We need many more financial services providers to take this on. To encourage this, the core of our work in 2015 will be to provide a robust set of peer learning opportunities and knowledge products that support banks in offering our hallmark holistic value proposition to women. Highlights include a new group of mentee banks participating in our Mentoring Program; a series of Study Tours, the first hosted by founding member Westpac next month; our 14th Annual Summit, hosted by Itaú Unibanco in São Paulo Sept. 29 to Oct. 1; and a second edition of our guide to “Winning the Women’s Market,” updated with new insights, data and examples.
These activities will be complemented by our Data Analytics, designed to build engagement from more banks and actors in the wider ecosystem that support women’s wealth creation, and an increased focus on communications, including a redesign of our website to make it more useful for our members and provide a more complete view of the Women’s Market opportunity for the industry at large.
In 2014 we welcomed six banks as new members, and we hope to double that in 2015. Our latest member is BancoEstado de Chile, a market leader with a mission to make an impact on Chilean society and Chilean women in particular. In this issue we interview Jessica Lopez, BancoEstado’s CEO, to understand her vision for how her bank will do that.
Twenty years later, full financial inclusion of all women is within our grasp. Let’s get it done.
Inez Murray, Chief Executive Officer
Global Banking Alliance for Women