Improving gender diversity: A financial institution (FI) cannot adequately address the female market segment without addressing its internal gender imbalance. More women working in leadership positions at FIs can also aid the development of policies and practices for improving gender balance across the financial sector as well as developing women friendly products and services. Therefore, FIs will be given targets to increase women staff members at head office, branches, and agent level, improve the working environment for women, and ensure all staff has gone through gender sensitivity trainings.
Women centric products and services: To shift from gender neutral to gender inclusive product design, it is imperative that a dedicated team is working on gender-segmented product designing and creating a business case, as well as marketing products effectively, while understanding the existing social norms. Therefore, FI’s shall create a specialized department to apply gender lens on existing and new products and services offerings, keeping in view various use cases within women demographics of all ages and life cycle stages.
Women’s Champions at all customer touchpoints: Women’s financial inclusion cannot be improved without understanding their needs with careful attention. However, women customers, especially entrepreneurs, feel intimidated to visit a bank branch and are not facilitated effectively. Therefore, to enable banks to improve facilitation of women customers and entrepreneurs, Women Champions shall be deployed at all customer touch points who should proactively guide the women entrepreneurs to get access to credit. They will also serve as a point of complaint redressal. Further, all other virtual touch points of the banks, including call centers, apps and alternate delivery channels should aim to be more women friendly.
Robust collection of Gender-disaggregated data and target setting: The absence of data and targets can dilute FI’s focus on gender in finance, and impede development of informed policies and associated actions for closing the gender gap. Therefore, under the policy, all institutions under SBP’s ambit will be instructed to collect and report gender disaggregated data related to gender disaggregated outreach of products and services, to SBP.
Policy Forum on Gender: To discuss opportunities and challenges in women’s financial inclusion, internalize gender mainstreaming within organizations, and review the existing legal and policy framework for identification of bottlenecks in women’s financial inclusion, a Policy Forum on Gender and Finance will be established at SBP. The forum will be chaired by SBP Governor, and includes members from Banks, DFIs, MFBs, SECP, women chambers of commerce, civil society, private sector, gender leaders, etc., and will meet at least bi- annually to serve as the apex body for future policy formulation on gender.
To view the circulars issued for enforcing these measures, please click here