Role of gender focal points institutionalized in all AFI working groups
All AFI Working Groups institutionalized the role of the Gender Focal Points (GPF) by unanimously adopting a revision into their respective Working Group charters, during their sessions held this April.
This revision of the charters ensures a coherent and sustainable gender mainstreaming approach in the development, monitoring and reporting of Gender Inclusive Finance (GIF) activities of the Working Groups (WG).
“The revised charter offers a clear scope of the roles and responsibilities by the gender focal points to ensure they remain focused in meeting the Denarau Action Plan (DAP) commitments,” said Liza Mohammad Noor from Bank Negara Malaysia and the Financial Inclusion Strategy Peer Learning Group (FISPLG’s) first gender champion. She is currently the lead GFP coordinator for AFI Working Groups and a permanent, non-voting observer in AFI’s GIF Committee.
The roles and mandate of the GFPs include providing guidance to the Working Group on including specialized gender topics in their meeting agendas, being a GIF catalyst and strengthening collaboration with other working groups.
Liza adds that GFPs are instrumental in ensuring that in developing all knowledge products and deliverables of the working groups, the gender perspective is taken into consideration. To date, over twenty GIF related knowledge products have been published since the adoption of DAP.
“Recognizing the role of GFPs has enabled member institutions to address gender-specific vulnerabilities, allow women's voices to be heard in the policymaking process and ensure that proven policy approaches in women’s financial inclusion are shared, replicated and adapted across the AFI network,” said Helen Walbey, Head of Gender Inclusive Finance (GIF) at AFI.
According to Walbey, the ten points of the DAP are key considerations in all aspects of the work of the Working Groups from integrating gender into the member’s NFIS through the work of FISPLG, to developing and promoting the best use of collecting sex-disaggregated data through FIDWG. They also underscore the need for stakeholder engagement, women’s leadership and the important role that digital financial services (DFS) can play as an enabler for women’s financial inclusion.
Dedicated gender subgroups within working groups have also been formed to discuss policy needs and possible solutions faced by members in identifying key barriers faced by women in gaining access to formal financial services. These subgroups also explore key challenges that are stifling progress in women’s financial inclusion in members’ jurisdictions.
As a cross-cutting policy topic within the AFI working groups, gender inclusive finance, gender equality and gender diversity and women’s leadership, are important topics that have risen to the top of the contemporary development agenda. Almost a billion women worldwide are financially excluded and are facing varying degrees of economic, legal and social hurdles that prohibit their full participation in societies.
The following are the elected gender focal points who are leading GIF technical work within their respective WGs.
- Consumer Empowerment and Market Conduct Working Group (CEMCWG): Marie-Jose Ndaya, Banque Centrale du Congo
- Digital Financial Services Working Group (DFSWG): Clarissa Kudowor, Bank of Ghana
- Financial Inclusion Data Working Group (FIDWG): Diane Jocelyn Bizimana, Banque de la République du Burundi and Dr. Settor Amediku, Bank of Ghana
- Financial Inclusion Strategy Peer Learning Group (FISPLG): Liza Mohammad Noor, Bank Negara Malaysia
- Global Standards Proportionality Working Group (GSPWG): A.K.M Ramizul Islam, Bangladesh Bank
- Small and Medium Enterprise Finance Working Group (SMEFWG): Christina Rokoua, Reserve Bank of Fiji
- Inclusive Green Finance Working Group (IGFWG): Gladys Awuku, Bank of Ghana
The Gender Inclusive Finance (GIF) workstream is partially financed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and other partners.