FinEquity Blog

FinEquity's March 2021 Newsletter


March  2021

Empowering women through financial inclusion
International Women's Day and Month
Dear FinEquity Members,
International Women's Day provides an opportunity to reflect on the progress that we have made regarding gender equality and women's empowerment around the world, but especially on the hard work that is still needed. The COVID-19 pandemic is hurting women more than men, and to avoid losing the gains made in recent years, a more collaborative approach to find solutions will be required. At FinEquity, we are expanding our reach to empower more women through financial inclusion. 

One year ago, we launched FinEquity ALC, a regional Spanish-language forum within FinEquity dedicated to promoting exchange and collaboration around women’s financial inclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean. The initiative was launched with friend institutions in the region including the Institute for Peruvian Studies (IEP), the International Development Research Center (IDRC) Uruguay, the Andares Network, the BBVA Microfinance Foundation, the CAF – Development Bank of Latin America, and the Fundación WWB Colombia. We have used the platform to share knowledge and experiences, identify key challenges, and host discussions around common challenges to increase equitable access to and use of financial services for women in LAC. This collaborative effort fills me with pride after seeing more than 750 practitioners representing over 100 institutions in the region have joined us in this effort. 

In 2021, we are preparing to broaden engagement with all our FinEquity members around the globe to foster cross-regional learning and expand collaboration ties to continue advancing the financial inclusion of women. 

We invite you to take part in this effort!

Best regards,

Mariana, on behalf of FinEquity ALC and FinEquity teams.
Women and Finance:
Enabling Women’s Economic Empowerment
From CGAP Leadership Essay Series

By Greta Bull, CGAP Chief Executive Officer

In her latest leadership essay, Greta Bull CEO of CGAP writes: “Our biggest foray into the gender space in the last four years has been hosting the FinEquity community of practice.”

Connections fostered via FinEquity with a wide network of partners interested in both women’s financial inclusion and women’s economic empowerment have been instrumental to inform CGAP’s own learning and have enabled it to connect with the work of many other development partners. 

To read more about Greta Bull’s views on how the financial inclusion community can contribute to achieving a world where poor people, especially women, are empowered to capture opportunities and build resilience through financial services, please visit the CGAP website.

Key Publications on Women's Financial Inclusion and Economic Empowerment

In honor of International Women’s Day this year, FinDev Gateway and FinEquity joined forces to compile a list of key resources from the past year on women’s financial inclusion and economic empowerment. This guide shares our 13 publication picks, as well as selected blog posts on gender from the FinDev Gateway Blog. 

Meet our Technical Advisory Committee!
FinEquity recently welcomed its inaugural Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) for its first meeting on February 26, 2021. The committee is chaired by Antonique Koning, Gender Lead and Senior Financial Sector Specialist at CGAP.
TAC advisors are strong advocates for women’s financial inclusion, thought leaders, and technical experts that strengthen the voice and legitimacy of FinEquity as a community of practice. In their role as advisors, they will provide technical input and guidance to FinEquity’s Learning Themes and also shape FinEquity’s evolving regional priorities. TAC advisors will also play a critical role in endorsing knowledge products developed by FinEquity and promoting resulting good practices through their respective networks. 

Tools Workshop:
Resources and Key Takeaways
Why Does She Behave the Way She Does? - Using Personas to Unpack Gendered Social Norms in Financial Inclusion

In this blog, FinEquity's Gender-Transformative Solutions Thematic Lead, Nisha Singh, shares practical solutions and entry points for providing financial services to women. These were developed by participants during FinEquity's first tools workshop session: "Why does she behave the way she does? - Using Personas to unpack gendered social norms in financial inclusion". She also shares helpful resources for practitioners interested in learning more about the application of Personas design in their work.

This event officially launched our Tools Workshops series focused on practical solutions and resources on customer segmentation. Remember to stay connected to learn more about our upcoming events.

We Asked, You Answered:
Can Free Phones Close the Digital Gender Divide?
The gender gap in mobile phone ownership is well-documented. For years now, the financial inclusion community has been trying to get phones into the hands of more women at the last mile — spurred on by mounting evidence that mobile money can increase women’s financial resilience, expand their economic opportunities and improve their intra-household bargaining power. While these efforts have undeniably increased women’s access to phones, it’s less clear to what extent the beneficiaries of these programs are using phones to improve their lives.

A common approach to improving women’s access to mobile phones has been to give phones away. When we asked the FinEquity women’s financial inclusion community about the initiatives they were seeing around the world, we learned of several examples. Click here to learn more. 
Tea with FinEquity!

Join the FinEquity team on April 14, 2021, from 8:30 am until 9:30 am EST, to learn more about what we have been up to this previous quarter, share your initiatives, and grow your network connections. 
Upcoming Events and Opportunities
DGroups Call:
WEE in Financial Inclusion
Women's Economic Empowerment TechSprint: March 22-25, 2021

AIR is partnering with the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to address the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on women. 

Women’s economic empowerment is essential for the health and wellbeing of individuals and families and is a critical component of thriving economies. The goal is to convene parallel TechSprints in the UK, the US, and potentially additional hubs representing emerging markets in Africa and Asia. The teams will focus on use cases and personas designed specifically for each hub, and the prototype solutions will be aggregated and published as a global toolkit. The goal is to have women represent 75% of participants.

Please visit the website to learn more. 

Upcoming Call for Proposals: Women’s Economic Empowerment and Digital Finance (WEE-DiFine)

Women’s Economic Empowerment and Digital Finance (WEE-DiFine) is an exciting research initiative, led by the BRAC Institute for Governance and Development (BIGD), committed to generating a comprehensive body of evidence around the impact of digital financial services (DFS) on women’s economic empowerment (WEE). Following the success of the first request for proposals (RFP), WEE-DiFine is preparing to launch its second RFP, with a specialized focus on pilot, qualitative, and measurement studies across South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. The RFP will launch in April and is expected to close at the end of May. Visit WEE-DiFine for more details!

Job Opportunity - Global Gender Cohort Coordinator

The Global Gender Cohort Coordinator is a member of the CARE USA Gender Justice Team (GJT), which sits within the Program, Strategy and Impact division at CARE USA. He/she will lead a key initiative in the advancement of gender equality globally through contributing to CARE's Vision 2030 goals.Specifically, the Global Gender Cohort Coordinator leads a global network of approximately 60 gender specialists who are deployable to meet CARE's global demand for gender technical assistance throughout programming. Click here for more information. 
WEE Frameworks in Financial Inclusion Initiatives 

Thank you to everyone who provided responses to our DGroups call about the frameworks and the indicators that you are using to measure Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) in your financial inclusion activities. Based on the responses we received, it is clear that members are approaching WEE in a variety of ways, ranging from measuring women's confidence and use of financial services to increasing women's participation in household financial decision-making and control over their own income.

For many programs, this depends on how each defines Women's Economic Empowerment and specific program outcomes. Linking women's usage and knowledge of financial products to increased privacy and autonomy can be one dimension of empowerment. For others like Strategic Impact Associates' Hey Sister! Project and CARE, tracking changes in women's confidence is also an important element of empowerment. Meanwhile, initiatives like the BSR HERproject, the BOMA Project, and TechnoServe's Business Women Connect, have broadened their mandate to include not only the measurement of improved financial health, usage, and confidence but greater agency and control over financial decision-making. 
Next Steps

One of the ongoing challenges with WEE is being able to share best practices and compare them across programs when approaches and definitions of empowerment vary widely.  Over the next few months, FinEquity will be engaging further with interested members to build greater consensus on defining WEE for financial inclusion and standardized impact measurement indicators.

Thank you again for participating and please stay connected to share your insights and resources. 


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