Disruption that Enhances the Value Proposition for Women

Game-Changing Innovations

This panel brought together practitioners across three continents and two sectors to discuss how disruption and innovation in technology are impacting the value proposition for women. Financial institutions shared their own experiences with specific technologies that are changing the playing field for women, as well as processes like consciously including women in product development to make the products more relevant and using human-centered research and design. Panelists agreed that women use technology differently than men and this difference could help institutions reach and serve them better.

Key Points

    • McKinsey considers four key dimensions in digital transformation: connection, automation, innovation and decisioning. Connection leads to networks, automation leads to alternative data sources for credit scoring, decisioning allows for analytics to provide advice and recommendations at the point of need, and innovation allows for custom solutions. These dimensions are also relevant when a gender lens is applied to digital transformation.
    • Panelists had different views on the need for women as creators of technologies, but agreed that it is essential to transform the research approach to ensure that women’s needs are recognized.
    • Itaú Unibanco’s customers are increasingly turning to digital solutions: 82 percent of them are accessing digital products and services.
    • The bank has found interesting gender-related trends that in some cases would not have been obvious without analysis of sex-disaggregated data. For instance, they found that many customers were downloading the bank’s app and then deleting it immediately. They realized that the majority of customers who were engaging in this behavior were lower-income individuals who did not have the data capacity on their phones to keep the app. With this in mind, they launched a light version of the app, which addressed this problem. Looking at their user base, they found that 65 percent were women.
    • For KCB Kenya, some of the challenges are around financial inclusion, as many people, including a majority of women, are in rural areas and do not have access to a bank.

Disruption Panel 2017 Summit 2

  • KCB Kenya has worked with partners such as M-Pesa to create mobile solutions, and the bank is trying to formalize the informal sector by providing digital access to account transactions, providing opportunities to borrow and save, and leveraging alternative data provided by telecoms – all in a convenient and safe way.
  • NatWest in the UK is incorporating women into the process of developing technologies, as they realized that the technology they were putting forward took everyone into account but women. There is a disproportionately low number of women in technology roles, and as the availability of these types of roles is expected to grow, the challenge will be even more severe.
  • AXA found that while their products remain consistent, usage varies across genders.  They saw that women were using more services to speak with doctors and also more transport services when their cars broke down. They recognized that women view life as a cycle and were more interested in prevention services than men, especially health benefits for children. They also found that women are much more time scarce and therefore value efficiency – there are opportunities for digital solutions to address all of these areas.

Disruption Panel 2017 Summit


Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company
Presentation (members only)

Director of Institutional Marketing, Itaú Unibanco
Presentation (members only)

Group Head of Emerging Customers, AXA

Head SME and Agribusiness, KCB Kenya
Presentation (members only)

Managing Director, Personal Banking; NatWest
Presentation (members only)


New technologies are increasingly being used to provide innovative solutions for women.
— Paul Jenkins

It’s important to change the approach of how you do research on women. People can’t describe how they do things – they need to be watched.
— Andrea Pinotti

Men view life as a line. Women view life as a cycle.
— Garance Wattez-Richard

Women want something that serves their needs. No need to name it as female – it’s just how you tweak it to serve women.
— Naomi Ndele

If we don’t solve the problem of including women in technology, the issue we have today will multiply.
— Jane Howard