Thursday 27th April 2017
I was deeply honored to speak with the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, this week, on a panel convened to seek feedback on key tenets of the Women20 Communiqué finalized over the previous two days. It was a thrill to share the very practical ways sex-disaggregated data could support closing the gender gap in financial inclusion with a scientist and politician who respects data-driven policy. Data, as our members know, is key to proving the business case for serving the Women’s Market. This is critical to both maintain and grow banks’ focus on the Women’s Market and to size the market opportunity when just thinking about women as a segment.
In our dialogue with the Chancellor, GBA emphasized the fact that there is no consistent data, in any country, on the overall size of the Women’s Market opportunity, and that the business case for serving it is resident in less than 100 banks globally. In the absence of sex-disaggregated data, we pointed out, it is difficult for policymakers to be effective in moving the needle on women’s economic empowerment. The W20 Communiqué frames this as a wider point: While “G20 policies tend to be gender blind, they are not automatically gender neutral in their outcome.” This echoes GBA’s own views on gender-blind approaches in banking, based on research that found that a gender-blind approach has consistently led to women being underserved by the financial services sector.
The role of sex-disaggregated data in closing the financial inclusion gender gap was also discussed with Central Bankers in Dushanbe, Tajikistan this week, where the Alliance For Financial Inclusion’s Data Working Group convened. GBA facilitated a session with regulators to understand their perspectives of the issue. While a majority of Central Banks report that they are able to collect sex-disaggregated data, a number of challenges remain in terms of its use and impact on policymaking. AFI members through the Denarau Action Plan have also placed sex-disaggregated data front and center, and have committed to halving the gender gap in financial inclusion by 2021.
Meanwhile, preparations continue apace as our expert bankers craft the agenda for our two upcoming All-Stars Academies. Though heavily oversubscribed, there is still time until this Friday evening in your part of the world to fill out application forms. Selections will be made on a merit base.
And finally, this month, a big shout out to Stanbic Bank in Zambia, which has just launched its Anakazi Women’s Market program, giving women the holistic value proposition that is the GBA Blueprint. It is exciting to think that when successful, Stanbic will consider rolling it out in the many other African countries in which the bank is already present.