A Letter from Antonique Koning
Dear FinEquity members,
Our community is thriving and needed more than ever. With the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the lives of women around the world, our collective role as gender advocates is crucial to fulfilling the promise to build back better. As many other organizations in our sector, CGAP recognizes that putting vulnerable women at the center of our efforts and mainstreaming gender throughout our organizations are going to be critical for advancing women’s financial inclusion and economic empowerment, especially in the coming months and years. As CGAP’s new Gender Lead, I look forward to learning from all of you as we work towards this shared vision in our respective workplaces.
At CGAP, we are striving for an organizational culture where staff take initiative to learn about, discuss, and apply a gender lens in their work. For example, building on its advocacy for developing data-driven strategies to close the gender gap in gender access and use, CGAP has embedded gender-based learning questions in its latest research effort focused on enhancing the quality of Cash-in and Cash-out (CICO) networks in rural areas. The research will identify country-specific gender constraints in CICO networks and improve understanding of how CICO networks can enable women’s financial inclusion, agency, and control over resources to remove these constraints based on evidence gathered.
One specific area that I am personally interested in exploring is the youth gender gap. A preliminary analysis of Findex data by CGAP indicates that in low-income countries, the gender gap in financial inclusion emerges between the ages of 18 and 24, and by the age of 24, the gap remains virtually the same. This raises some interesting questions: Does this pattern show up everywhere? What is driving this trend? And more importantly, what can we do about it? Can we address the gender gap among adults by looking at young women’s first interactions with the financial system? This is an area I would be keen to engage on with FinEquity members who are asking the same questions and explore ways to collaborate. So, please continue to share your thoughts, learnings, and ideas on Dgroups!
The upcoming FinEquity Meeting (#FinEquity2020) will be a great place for us to gather, albeit virtually, to compare notes and share experiences. I look forward to seeing you all there!