Toward a Data-driven Ecosystem

Closing the Gaps

This panel explored the importance of a collaborative multi-stakeholder approach to further developing the ecosystem for sex-disaggregated data. Different stakeholder groups, including banks, IFIs, regulators and networks, presented their current practices and discussed concrete actions for how they can support in closing the gender data gaps for women’s banking data.


Key Points

  • Financial inclusion and shared prosperity are mandates of IFIs. Measurement is critical to understand the issues and to ensure the right policies are in place.
  • The Findex database is the demand-side database that looks at gender in a more systematic and comparable fashion. There is a lack of supply-side sex-disaggregated data.
  • Data is fundamental for innovation, as it allows IFIs to measure success. In many program experiments, data is not available. However, scale cannot be achieved without it.

2015 Panel 2_1

  • Even if systems are set up to aggregate data, they will be of no use if the data itself is not available.
  • Banks need to understand the data in their portfolios so they can establish a baseline. Banks need to start with a definition, but many times the key issue is comparing data because there are no consistent definitions.
  • Establishing performance targets is key for banks to motivate the sales force. Many gender elements are cultural — measurement can help bridge these biases.
  • Measurement also allows for better program monitoring and adjustments.
  • Data is fundamental to establish a bank’s business case for serving a certain market.
  • Requiring that data be reported to regulators without fully understanding the challenges that banks face can be counter-productive. For instance, many banks do not have the MIS systems in place to disaggregate data by sex. Regulators must also be specific in terms of the data they are requiring from banks.

  • Regulators have a lot of power to foster the right behavior among financial institutions; therefore, getting the data should not be an issue for them if they deem it important.
  • Gender sensitizing banks and using an assessment tool (like the ILO FAMOS check) can be an important way forward in getting banks interested in this market. Getting gender on the agenda can be a powerful way of obtaining data.
  • Data is not a hard sell for many policymakers, as they believe in evidence-based policymaking.
  • The Alliance for Financial Inclusion’s Maya Declaration allows AFI members to make commitments related to financial inclusion. Several countries have gender-related targets, which allows for higher prioritization of sex-disaggregated data.
  • Awareness of the importance of sex-disaggregated data is a challenge for policymakers, but this is relatively easy to overcome.
  • Developing a template that does not significantly increase reporting burdens for banks can be a good solution.


Panels Button


Senior Adviser, Finance & Markets Global Practice, World Bank

Chair, Global Banking Alliance for Women; Assistant General Manager, BLC Bank
Presentation (members only)

Chief, Market Innovation Lab Unit, Multilateral Investment Fund, Inter-American Development Bank

Deputy Governor, Bank of Zambia
Presentation (members only)

Senior Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, Alliance for Financial Inclusion


“We have learned measurement is very critical to understand [and ensure we] have the right policies to facilitate participation.”
— Ceyla Pazarbasioglu

“A challenge, from a policymaker’s point of view, is awareness. But it is an easy hurdle to cross.”
— Charles Marwa

“What would I wish for if I had a magic wand? To make others understand what the fuss is about — why it is important for economic growth of the country and the bottom line of financial institutions.”
— Dr. Tukiya Kankasa-Mabula

“If we don’t have this information, we continue in our autopilot business approach without critically assessing whether our approach is getting us where we want to go.”
— Yuri Soares

“I believe definitions are key for comparing data from one bank to another. The problem is we don’t have a consistent definition.”
— Tania Moussallem