Achieving Financial Equality

In Episode 28 of Business Diplomacy Today, host Matthias Catón is joined by Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO of Women’s World Banking. Matthias and Mary Ellen examine the persistent gender gap in financial inclusion and its linkages to digital inclusion.

Matthias and Mary Ellen begin their conversation by analysing why finance is not optimised for women, looking at the lack of access to financial services for women and the intricate connection of financial equality and digital inclusion. Using India as a case study, Matthias and Mary Ellen illustrate the importance of implementing digital public infrastructure that is inclusive and motivates individuals to stay in the system.

Looking at the topic from a business perspective, Matthias questions why banks and companies are not working harder to push for financial inclusion. Mary Ellen shares that there is a lack of utilising data to see what products and services are offered, demanded and can drive their businesses.

Matthias and Mary Ellen further discuss why innovation in this sector seems to come from emerging economies and the polarising debate on the efficacy of cryptocurrencies in achieving financial inclusion.

About the guest

Mary Ellen Iskenderian

Mary Ellen Iskenderian is President and CEO of Women’s World Banking, the global nonprofit devoted to giving more low-income women access to the financial tools and resources they need to achieve security and prosperity.

Mary Ellen has led the Women’s World Banking global team, based in New York, since 2006 and also serves on the Investment Committees of its two impact investment funds.

Executive Briefing – what you should read now

  • Iskenderian, Mary Ellen (2023) – There’s Nothing Micro about a Billion Women: Making Finance Work for Women
  • Women’s World Banking (2023) – Reaching Financial Equality for Women