Queen Rania attends global conference hosted by Women's World Banking

November 19, 2013

(Office of Her Majesty- Press Department- Amman) Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah attended today a global conference titled "Building Women-Focused Finance: The Global-Local Experience", that aims to promote financial inclusion for low-income women.

Held by Women’s World Banking (WWB) under the patronage of Her Majesty, the two-day conference hosted by Microfund for Women/Jordan brings together more than 250 microfinance practitioners, commercial bankers, investors, donors, and regulators from more than 40 countries to discuss key issues in financial inclusion for low-income women.

Participants will explore the landscape of financial needs and services in the MENA region, which has the lowest percentage of women participating in the formal finance sector in the world, according to the World Bank. This will set the stage for a broader conversation on access to finance, particularly as it pertains to women.

Featuring global and regional experts, the sessions will focus on how financial institutions can expand their market by developing a suite of products to meet the specific needs of women. In addition, experts will discuss innovative approaches to reaching three segments of the underserved population: youth, salaried workers, and rural women. Microfinance leaders from Lebanon, Tunisia, and Pakistan will share their experiences operating in crisis situations, including political instability, influx of refugees and natural disasters.

Queen Rania attended a session titled ‘What do women-focused products and services look like?’. Panelists Anna Ginchermanr, Chief Product Officer of WWB, Mohammed Al-Lai, CEO of AL Amal Microfinance Bank in Yamen, and Ms. Dolores M. Torres, President and CEO of Card Bank in the Philippines explored how financial institutions can expand their market by developing a suite of products to meet the specific needs of women clients.

The session was moderated by Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO of WWB.

“I’m truly excited to bring these diverse voices together to share experiences and begin to close the financial inclusion gap for women. Women's World Banking has always drawn strength and purpose from our global network of partners. By sharing unique challenges and approaches to serving women well, we will all gain a greater understanding of what it takes for financial institutions to serve women clients while also being sustainable,” said Iskenderian.

Queen Rania also toured an exhibition that displayed some of the products made by a number of Microfund for Women beneficiaries.

H.E. Dr. Azzam Al Saleit, Minister of Information and Communication Technology and Ghiath Sukhtian, Chairman of Microfund for Women attended the opening session of the conference.

At the conference, WWB will also present the winner of the 2013 Excellence in Leadership Award, an award which annually recognizes a microfinance institution committed to developing women’s leadership and gender diversity in order to prove that investing in women makes business sense.

Jordan’s Microfund for Women, WWB network member and local host of the conference, is the winner of the 2013 award for building an institution that ensures that women are well-represented in the organization’s workforce, leadership and governance while maintaining its commitment to serve every ambitious woman.

Managing Director of Microfund for Women Muna Sukhtian said that this conference is an opportunity to exchange experiences and best practices as well as challenges and how to overcome them. She added this event will enable them to focus on common strengths and weaknesses so as to improve their policies and serve as many female beneficiaries as possible.

Women’s World Banking is the global non-profit devoted to giving more low-income women access to the financial tools and resources essential to their security and prosperity. For more than 35 years we have worked with financial institutions to show them the benefit of investing in women as clients, and as leaders. We equip these institutions to meet women’s needs through authoritative market research, leadership training, sustainable financial products and consumer education. Headquartered in New York, Women’s World Banking works with 39 institutions in 28 countries with a reach of 14 million women to create access to finance on a greater scale that ever before.