Enhancing the Role of Finance in Expanding Equal Opportunities for Women to Access, Use and Benefit from Real Economy Markets
UNCDF’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific organized a two-day ThinkShop workshop on 20-21 January, 2015, held at the Australian Embassy in collaboration with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT), and titled, “Enhancing the Role of Finance in Expanding Equal Opportunities for Women to Access, Use and Benefit from Real Economy Markets.” The event was held as part of of UNCDF’s Shaping Inclusive Finance Transformations (SHIFT) programme, which aims to improve the level of financial inclusion in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region by facilitating the transition of low-income people’s use of financial services from informal mechanisms to formal, regulated and higher- value services.
UNCDF invited practitioners from a range of development disciplines—including Bangladesh, Cambodia and Haiti —to discuss empowering women economically through financial markets specifically, and real- economy markets generally. The ThinkShop workshop was particularly important for UNCDF’s SHIFT financial inclusion programme since women make up around half of the region’s population, making them an integral component of ASEAN’s economic growth engine. Additionally, the ThinkShop contributed to evolving UNCDF’s global approaches to women’s economic empowerment in least developed countries.
The discussions revolved around assessing the current state of women’s economic empowerment, understanding women’s empowerment or lack thereof in the market, exploring links in financial markets, exploring market inclusiveness for women and sharing pertinent stories from the field and beyond.