The World Bank, IFC, and the Russia's G20 Presidency (Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation) co-hosted a Women and Finance event during the 2013 IMF - World Bank Spring Meetings, to advance financial inclusion for women.
Financial inclusion for women contributes to achieving the goal of ending extreme poverty. Access to appropriate financial services can enable women and their families to move out of poverty, increase their incomes, invest in education and healthcare, and reduce their vulnerability to economic upheavals. Yet women in emerging markets have lower levels of financial inclusion as a result of legal, institutional, cultural and informational barriers to them gaining better access to financial services.
This event highlighted the roles of stakeholders in addressing this challenge - including regulators, policymakers, financial institutions, entrepreneurs, and development agencies. Models and innovations were showcased that have been proven to boost women's access to and use of financial services. New research and data were made available, and the Women's Finance Hub - a global knowledge sharing platform - was formally launched.
Financial inclusion more broadly is increasingly a priority for ministries of finance and financial regulators. There is an emerging global consensus that ambitious targets and actions are needed to bring the 2.5 billion people - including almost 80% of the poor living under $2/per day - currently excluded from financial services into financial inclusion. The Сonference Women in Finance was preceded by a brief high level panel discussion on reaching the shared goal of Financial Access for All, and followed by the launch of the G20 Basic Set of Financial Indicators, by the global Partnership for Financial Inclusion.