Case Study

Transforming the Landscape of Leadership in Microfinance: Maintaining the Focus on Women

Increasing representation of women professionals in microfinance

This paper offers institutional approaches to increase representation of women professionals in microfinance. It demonstrates the importance of women's leadership in microfinance and discusses the business case for gender diversity.The paper presents a case study of Pakistan's Kashf Foundation, a member of the Women's World Banking (WWB) network that has been successful in furthering organizational gender diversity. It also describes WWB's strategies for improving gender diversity in MFIs, including its Women's Leadership Development Program and the Organizational Gender Assessment methodology, a tool for diagnosing challenges that MFIs face in the attraction, retention and promotion of qualified women staff members. WWB believes that women will continue to play a critical role in financial service delivery for low-income entrepreneurs. Efforts, however, must be made to ensure equal opportunity for all qualified staff. WWB's prescription for a healthy, gender-inclusive MFI includes:

  • Showcase successful women within the institution;
  • Create an in-house mentoring program;
  • Develop a fast-track program for high-potential women;
  • Offer on-site or facilitated childcare;
  • Grant flexible work schedules and responsive leave packages;
  • Establish gender diversity targets;
  • Use process mapping as a tool for improving staff experiences.

About this Publication

By Lynch, E.