Speakers at 2019 ASEAN Financial Inclusion Symposium in Hanoi, Vietnam

AFI enhances gender data discussions at ASEAN symposium

AFI underscored the importance of gender-based data in identifying gaps in financial inclusion as well as opportunities to develop policies and products that meet the needs of women during the 2019 ASEAN Financial Inclusion Symposium in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Speaking at the two-day event on women’s economic empowerment through inclusive financial innovations in Southeast Asia, AFI Senior Policy Manager Luis Trevino shone a spotlight on the achievements of network members in harnessing data to narrow the financial inclusion gender gap.

He also shared the main data elements of the Denarau Action Plan – the network’s focal document on gender inclusive finance – as well as AFI’s recently published Policy Framework for Women’s Financial Inclusion using Digital Financial Services (DFS), which provides guidance to regulators and policymakers on leveraging DFS to advance women’s financial inclusion.

During a session on “harnessing data to close the gender gap in financial inclusion” on 26 September, Trevino discussed the development of toolkits that help both members and non-members collect sex-disaggregated data for financial inclusion, the importance of stakeholder collaboration and agreements by members on fostering women’s financial inclusion. Among the examples cited was a case study by the Central Bank of Egypt on a framework that integrated gender and women’s financial inclusion.

Other speakers from the session came from the UN Capital Development Fund and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The symposium was co-hosted by the State Bank of Vietnam and the Asian Development Bank.

The first full-day of sessions saw participants share their experiences in identifying barriers to access financial services for women, measuring women’s financial inclusion through sex-disaggregated data, implementing financial education targeted at women and developing innovative financial services, regulations and policies. The following day saw discussions dedicated to the role of women as entrepreneurs and financial inclusion in fostering their economic development in the region.

AFI promotes gender equality in financial inclusion through its Gender Inclusive Finance workstream, which is financed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and other partners.