Letter from Inez: October 2021

Wednesday 27th October 2021

In This Issue
Spotlight on: Record-Breaking 2021 Summit

Despite the Zoom fatigue we’re all likely feeling, we’re delighted with the turnout of our 2021 Summit earlier this month. More than 1,550 people registered from 118 countries representing more than 590 organizations, making it our most diverse Summit to date. And the unprecedented 102 senior leaders speaking at the Summit signals the growing recognition of the value of championing the female economy.

Participants were delighted with the quality of the content, giving it an 89 percent satisfaction rate. Equally gratifying is that 82 percent of respondents to our feedback survey say that they are either very likely or likely to act on the lessons learned.

In this issue of our newsletter, we’ve highlighted some key takeaways from each day of the Summit. (We also encourage you to view any sessions you missed on our YouTube channel.)

What was most invigorating on Day 1 was hearing how leaders in our Alliance are making big moves to transform the playing field for female entrepreneurs. This was exemplified by Alison Rose, who coalesced the UK’s entrepreneurial ecosystem to make it more supportive of women SMEs. It was also reflected in strategic partnerships such as the one between HSBC and Allbright — an already at-scale supplier of coaching, education and networking to female entrepreneurs — and in Mastercard’s collaboration with Seneca Women to enable consumers to buy from women-owned businesses.

What was also evident was the role gender data plays in enabling more thorough analysis of market behaviors, as shown by Mexico and Nigeria during the Data for Systems Change panel and by Banco Pichincha’s collaboration with Mastercard to analyze cardholder data. We will continue our work with Data2X’s Women’s Financial Inclusion Data (WFID) partnership on national gender data ecosystems in six countries — Nigeria, Pakistan, Honduras, Bangladesh, Kenya and Turkey — through 2022. Nothing less than a national ecosystem approach to gender data will move the dial, and we hope you find our Case Study on the UK’s Investing in Women Code a useful benchmark to consider.

Day 2 focused on gender-intelligent fintech design and kicked off with Anne Boden, Founder of Starling Bank, who shared her journey to becoming the first profitable neobank in Europe. The key message was that fintechs and their investors need to look at each stage of the customer sales funnels, understand  conversion rates from one stage to the next, and if women are not 50 percent of them, ask why. It was supported by our latest research on fintechs and the female economy, which  quantifies the money being left on the table by being gender neutral and shares use cases for gender-intelligent fintech design at each stage of the funnel.

The fintech sector is burgeoning with smart entrepreneurs and engineers who are capable of this gender-intelligent design, as evidenced by our Hackathon finalists and winners. The Alliance is committed to supporting the fintech sector in realizing the full potential of the female economy through their full integration into our peer learning services.

Day 3 raised the bar on gender diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the workforce by including justice and equity, bringing the intersection of race and gender to the fore. The good news is that strong gender D&I strategy and practices lays a strong foundation for justice and equity. The bad news is that there is still a lot of work to be done to achieve the JEDI workforce of tomorrow. To meet this challenge, the Alliance will host an All-Stars Academy in 2022 dedicated fully to becoming the employer of choice for women of any identity.

The capstone of our Summit was announcing and celebrating the winners of our annual Championing the Female Economy Awards. The awards recognize outstanding Alliance member institutions for their vision, commitment, and contributions to women and to the Alliance.

We also acknowledge our awesome Summit sponsors—Mastercard, and HSBC our wonderful and committed members; our ecosystem and strategic partners and our many new friends galvanized through attending the Summit to champion the female economy.

Last but not least, thank you to our growing number of readers — all 7,000 of you!

In community,