Measuring the Value of the Female Economy: New Data from the Alliance

Saturday 26th February 2022

We’ve just published “Measuring the Value of the Female Economy: 2021 Edition,” the latest collection of data from our female economy analytics survey—the only collection of global financial data measuring the performance of institutions serving the women’s market. This year’s sample size was the largest to date, with 43 FSPs reporting their data through an updated online template and more than 14,000 sex-disaggregated data points.

Financial institutions of different stripes (incumbent banks, fintechs, insurance companies) answered questions on a range of topics, including women customers’ uptake of digital financial services and the diversity of Information Technology (IT) teams. The aggregate results show the resilience of our members despite the onset of the pandemic.

Together, Alliance members are serving more than 66 million customers through and providing $156B in credit while employing 144,000 women. Women now represent 42 percent of retail customers across the network—our highest level ever. 

Even more gratifying, aggregate data shows that women customers’ average loan size was nearly 80 percent of men’s in 2020—a far higher proportion than seen in past years. Loan sizes were likely shored up by robust efforts from government, international organizations and our members themselves, and are testament to the concerted collaboration across stakeholders to enable our business women get through the crisis.

Customer satisfaction levels also reflect the quality of these strategies: Of the members that shared data on Net Promoter Scores (NPS), 72 percent reported NPS scores awarded by women customers that were equal to or higher than those awarded by men.

Our members are also making evident their long-term commitment to women, with nearly half of them embedding advanced women-centered strategies across their organizations and boasting an average program age of 5.7 years.

For the eighth year in a row, women customers in 2020 paid back loans at greater rates than men across all reported segments.

But significant gaps remain particularly in financing women owned/led SMEs. In 2020, just 14 percent of total credit to SMEs went to women-led enterprises, even though women own about 1 in 3 businesses worldwide. And women represent only 23 percent of SME customers overall compared to 40 percent of micro customers.

We know the SME financing gap is a tough one to close, and it may not reflect the full story given the constraints many FSPs still face in sex-disaggregating enterprise data. But we’re optimistic that progress will continue—not least because of the increased representation of women in leadership across in the Alliance.

In 2020 across our network, women accounted for 38 percent of management positions and almost one quarter of board member roles. These figures outperform the 2020 industry averages and reflect the sustained efforts of Alliance members (the average age of their diversity programs is nearly six years).

We look forward to building on this momentum and strengthening sex-disaggregated data so we can find the best ways forward on the path to parity. Read the full report here, “Measuring the Value of the Female Economy: 2021 Edition,” for more key data points and regional comparisons.