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Closing the gender gap in financial inclusion: Advancing the business case

Financial inclusion is an enabler for women’s economic empowerment. Improved financial access can facilitate consumption, mitigate risks, increase investment in businesses and households, and accumulate assets. However, recent progress in financial inclusion globally has not led to a significant reduction in gender gaps. Government policies are trying to address this gap, but the effort also requires active engagement by the private sector. Many banks are unaware that women represent a significant market. There is little capacity and knowledge in financial institutions about the market size, what value proposition to offer, and how the market should be segmented.

This initiative builds a partnership between IDRC and the Global Banking Alliance for Women (GBA) to address one of the key knowledge gaps in the field: evidence on the business case. GBA is the only global consortium of financial institutions dedicated to recognizing and building on the opportunity of the women’s market. GBA member institutions include large multinational commercial banks, as well as regional and local banks, which work in more than 135 countries to build innovative, comprehensive programs providing women with access to capital, financial services and products, information, education, and markets.

GBA will build on its Women’s Market Analytics Platform to develop the business case and share lessons learned and best practices from its own capacity building programs and practitioner working groups. It will disseminate the business case to stakeholders, including the private sector, regulators and policymakers, non-profits, academics, and international agencies through various communication tools and events, including GBA’s Annual Summit.

This project will support research for the development of appropriate financial services and products with a focus on expanding access to under-served segments of the women’s market, including small enterprises. It will also raise awareness and build the capacity of financial services providers to develop appropriate and affordable financial services for women.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
36 months
IDRC Officer
Carolina Robino
Total Funding
CA$ 568,600.00
South America
South of Sahara
Employment and Growth
Sustainable Inclusive Economies
Institution Country
United States
Project Leader
Rebecca Ruf
Global Banking Alliance for Women, Inc.



Closing the gap for women’s financial inclusion : the business case