Gender Inclusive
Finance

Gender Inclusive
Finance

Overview 

Increasing women’s financial inclusion and narrowing the gender gap through gender responsive financial policy and regulation has been at the forefront of AFI’s policy discourse since the Denarau Action Plan (DAP) was adopted in 2016 at the annual Global Policy Forum in Fiji.  

Significant gains in financial inclusion have been made in recent years. The Global Findex revealed that the gender gap in access to financial services has narrowed for the first time, from 9% in 2011 to 6% in 2021, though it remains significantly wider in parts of South Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa, as well as a few sub-Saharan African economies, leaving 745 million women financially excluded. Still, much work needs to be done to address structural inequalities that deny women economic opportunities and to ensure economic benefits are shared equally. 

Greater financial inclusion of women also makes business sense with estimates suggesting that advancing women’s equality could add some USD12 trillion to global gross domestic product by 2025. Women-led small and medium enterprises (SMEs) already make significant contributions to the economies in which they operate. They account for a third of all SMEs, a segment that has long been recognized as an important engine of growth and job creation.

Alongside gender-sensitive policies, collecting and analyzing sex-disaggregated data is essential to address this gender gap as it can both inform evidence-based financial inclusion policymaking and track the effectiveness of efforts to address barriers faced by women.

The Gender Inclusive Finance workstream is partially financed by Sweden and other partners.

Denarau Action Plan (DAP)

Since the adoption of the DAP, regulators have concentrated their efforts in developing gender inclusive financial policy and regulation and the collection and analysis of sex disaggregated data. It is positive to see that whilst a halving of the gender gap has not been manifested fully across the network, although  members have met this target at a national level, the overall global gender gap in women’s access to formal financial products and services has now reduced by 33 percent to 6 percent across developing and emerging economies. 

Supporting these aims is AFI’s Gender Inclusive Finance Committee (GIFC), which was established at the 2017 AFI GPF in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. The GIFC provides leadership and strategic guidance on advancing and promoting gender inclusive finance across the AFI Network. Committee members are the Bank of Ghana (Chair), Bangladesh Bank (Vice-Chair), Bank Al-Maghrib, Palestine Monetary Authority, Banco Central del Paraguay, Bank of Uganda and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. 

Since adopting the DAP, AFI’s working groups have completed close to 30 publications that guide policy and regulatory efforts that drive gender inclusive finance. Under the Maya Declaration, more than 40 members have committed to at least one target related to gender inclusive finance. 40 policy changes in the area of gender inclusive finance have been reported by 22 member institutions.  

Leadership and Diversity Program for Regulators

This 12-week program, taught by Women’s World Banking and Faculty from Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, implemented together with the AFI, brings together senior officials from central banks and other regulatory agencies and high-potential women from their respective institutions. The objective of this program is to support financial regulators to develop policy initiatives that close the gender gap in financial inclusion, and to build women’s leadership pipeline and promote greater institutional gender diversity in regulatory organizations. 

 Applications for the next cohort of the Leadership and Diversity Program for Regulators will open in the spring of 2023. 

Learn more here.

GIF Maya Declaration Commitments:

Over 40 Maya Declaration Commitments on gender inclusive finance have been made across all AFI regions with Sub-Saharan Africa contributing the most targets to date.

Gender Inclusive Finance Maya Declaration

 

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GIF Ambassadors

Launched at the 2019 AFI GPF, Gender Inclusive Finance Ambassadors provide recognition of AFI member institutions that are leading the network in efforts to advance women’s financial inclusion agendas and fulfil their commitments made under the DAP.

To become eligible as an ambassador, member institutions have to meet the majority of a pool of relevant GIF indicators such as recording a GIF policy change, the collection of sex-disaggregated data as well as commitment and leadership in promoting greater institutional diversity and women in leadership, among others. 

At the 2019 GPF, 11 member institutions were recognized as the inaugural AFI GIF Ambassadors and an additional 21 member institutions were recognized at the 2022 GPF, bringing the total number of GIF Ambassador institutions to 32.

Click here to learn more about AFI GIF Ambassadors.

 

Banco Nacional de Angola
Palestine Monetary Authority
Bangladesh Bank
Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan
Banque de la République du Burundi 
National Bank of Cambodia
Superintendencia de la Economía Popular y Solidaria de Ecuador  
Central Bank of Egypt
Ministry of Finance Eswatini
Central Bank of Eswatini
Reserve Bank of Fiji  
Bank of Ghana
Banque de la République d’Haiti 
Comisión Nacional de Bancos y, Seguros de Honduras
Central Bank of Jordan 
Central Bank of Lesotho
Central Bank of Liberia 
Reserve Bank of Malawi 
Comisión Nacional Bancaria y de Valores (CNBV)
Banco de Moçambique  
Bank Al-Maghrib 
Central Bank of Nigeria 
State Bank of Pakistan  
Banco Central del Paraguay
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas 
National Bank of Rwanda 
Banco Central de Reserva de El Salvador   
Banco Central de São Tomé e Príncipe
Bank of Tanzania
Bank of Uganda
Bank of Zambia 
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
 
 

The objectives of the Gender Inclusion Ambassadors:

Download GIF Factsheet

"Women in leadership would go a long way in promoting gender inclusive finance." Elsie Addo Awadzi, Deputy Governor, Bank of Ghana

"Women in leadership would go a long way in promoting gender inclusive finance." Elsie Addo Awadzi, Deputy Governor, Bank of Ghana

The 10-point action plan

With the Denarau Action Plan (DAP), AFI members are empowered to:

1. INCORPORATE gender considerations in the AFI Network’s core activities, including all capacity-building activities, working groups, and regional initiatives, to promote peer learning and develop knowledge products relating to gender inclusive finance and women’s financial inclusion, that support the development and implementation of financial inclusion policies.
2. CONSIDER AND IMPLEMENT best practices in integrating gender considerations to enhance women’s financial inclusion into National Financial Inclusion Strategies (NFIS) or other national-level financial policies.
3. LEVERAGE digital financial services and other innovative technologies to sustain and accelerate progress in gender inclusive finance and women’s financial inclusion.
4. STRENGTHENthe role of financial infrastructures, such as interoperable payment systems, credit bureaus, and electronic collateral registries, to enable women’s financial inclusion.
5. FACILITATE gender focal points from each of the AFI’s working groups to coordinate with the AFI’s Gender Inclusive Finance Unit and to lead on issues and knowledge products relating to gender inclusive finance, according to each of their mandates.
6. SUPPORT members to collect, analyze, and use sex-disaggregated data to promote greater women’s financial inclusion and to report data collection progress on the AFI Data Portal.
7. ENCOURAGE all AFI’s members to set specific financial inclusion objectives and targets for women’s financial inclusion, within both the framework of the Maya Declaration and their National Financial Inclusion Strategies (NFIS), and to monitor and report their progress on a regular basis.
8. CALL ON members to advocate for financial institutions and other private sector actors to:
  • support an inclusive organizational culture to better understand the needs of women’s market segments
  • develop their institutional capacity to effectively serve the women’s market segments
  • recognize the value of collecting and analyzing sex-disaggregated data to develop products and services to meet women’s needs.
9. COLLABORATE with other key stakeholders, including government agencies, development partners, and civil society to:
  • identify through research the gender-specific barriers to financial inclusion and effective policy-driven solutions
  • advocate the value of women’s financial inclusion at the national level
  • encourage a coordinated, sector-wide approach to data collection and implementation of sound gender-sensitive/transformative policies for financial inclusion
  • create an enabling and supportive environment to accelerate women’s financial inclusion.
10. DRIVE greater gender diversity at every level within members’ own institutions through developing effective workplace policies, practices, inclusive activities, as well as diversity and inclusion initiatives.
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AFI members made Maya Declaration commitments on gender and women’s financial inclusion

AFI Data Portal

Highlights

SDGs

© Alliance for Financial Inclusion 2009-2022