In honor of International Women’s Day, the Alliance prepared an animated eCard celebrating the growing economic power of women — as consumers, salary-earners, and job-creating entrepreneurs.
Our GBA member Women’s World Banking is committed to expanding the economic assets, participation, and power of the poor, especially women. Their network includes 40 microfinance providers and banks working in 28 countries. A new article in Forbes magazine puts the spotlight on the organization’s accomplishments and some of its continued challenges. The article also discusses the phenomenon of ‘mission drift’ – a situation when organizations focus increasingly on higher income clients and away from lower income ones, who are often women. The issue of ‘mission drift’ is especially relevant given the ongoing debate about the future of microfinance.
For Mary Ellen Iskenederian, the President and CEO of Women’s World Banking, this future includes the provision of microcredit in combination with other services, such as education, health care, and savings products. To promote savings products in developing countries, Women’s World Banking has received a $8.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. We look forward to seeing how these funds are put to use to empower women around the world.
Networking is an excellent but often under-rated way for women to secure valuable business contacts and connections. There are many associations and groups catering to women at the regional and global level, including the World Economic Forum’s Women Leaders group or the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society. One excellent recently formed organization is 85 Broads, a global network of 20,000 women that was formed by former female employees of Goldman Sachs. Members benefit from a variety of educational workshops and events, and of course, they reap the benefits of engaging with a community of other inspiring women from around the world.
Another great upcoming opportunity to network with other organizations is our upcoming Global Banking Alliance for Women 10th Anniversary Summit in Washington, DC. The summit is taking place in October, and you can pre-register on our website. This year’s summit will welcome both current and prospective members as well as other interested organizations. We hope you can join us.
This May the Global Summit of Women, an annual gathering of global women leaders, celebrated its 20th anniversary in Beijing, China. Over 1,000 female leaders from countries around the world came together for the occasion. Several GBA members, including board members Amanda Ellis of the World Bank and Joanna Fielding of Standard Chartered Bank, spoke about the importance of empowering women at event panels.
The Global Summit of Women was conceived two decades ago as the nexus where public, private and nonprofit sectors would come together to expand women’s economic opportunities globally.
Our GBA member Women’s World Banking (WWB) Center for Microfinance Leadership and the Aresty Institute of Executive Education at the Wharton School of Business recently partnered to bring together 22 microfinance leaders from 14 countries for a workshop to examine the state of the microfinance industry and plan for its future. Such discussions are timely and much needed, given the evolution of the microfinance industry from a not-for-profit model to a profit generating enterprise.
Participants discussed new approaches to meeting industry needs in the areas of corporate governance, risk management, and talent management, as well as working on scenario planning. Considering microfinance’s overwhelming positive impact on poor women around the world, such thoughtful discussions are most welcome.
Our GBA member Standard Chartered Bank has just launched a women in business resource center. The center is designed to help women start and grow their businesses, and it includes modules and exercises on finance and business planning. The website also features stories of successful female customers. This helpful resource is available in 8 languages via the Standard Chartered website.