On May 4th 2023, MicroLoan Foundation hosted a digital panel discussion on the importance of investing in gender smart financial products and services. The panel consisted of experts in the financial sector who shed light on the challenges faced by women in accessing financial services and how gender norms create significant barriers for them.
During the event, our panel of experts discussed core challenges that create significant barriers for women in accessing financial services. They highlighted the role of social and gender norms, the lack of financial literacy training for those living in intergenerational poverty, and the need for financial products that cater to the diverse needs of women. The panel agreed that one-size-fits-all approaches are ineffective, given that women have different financial goals and preferences.
The panellists left us with a call to action. They emphasised the importance of investing in research and using data rather than perceptions when developing innovative financial products and services. Since financial service providers are the first point of contact for clients, they should proactively engage other players in the ecosystem. It is essential to adopt a customer-centric approach to develop gender smart products that consider women’s real needs. They also stressed the need to understand the role of social norms and be aware of any unintended risks that could arise from them.
We would like to extend a special thank you to our incredible panellists, Elizabeth Munee Kiamba, Financial Sector Analyst at CGAP/The World Bank, Jessica Espinoza, CEO of 2X Global, Medha Wilson, MicroLoan’s Group CEO, and our fantastic moderator, Steve Mark, Chair of MicroLoan Foundation USA.
Together, we can support women and promote gender equality through access to financial services and resources.