WOMEN & FINANCE

 
 

WOCCU’s programs ensure equitable access to financial services and products and support women’s leadership in the industry. 

 
 

Women's leadership

In 2009, WOCCU established the Global Women’s Leadership Network (GWLN)  to address the credit union industry’s gender gap in leadership while also leveraging resources to strengthen the economic security of women and their families. We provide professionals with tangible skills, tools and resources they need to lead, and actionable steps for organizations to follow, delivered through training programs and our communications platform. 

WOCCU’s Global Women chapters, or Sister Societies, are currently established in 16 countries through 43 Sister Societies. We work to include women to not only become credit union members but also to serve in credit union leadership roles.  

In Liberia, 65% of the management staff of program credit unions are women. At end of our project in Rwanda, 529,060 credit union members were women, representing 40% of the total membership. We also delivered training to 26 female credit union managers in auditing tools, business planning, and financial literacy.

 

Designing products & services for women

Through our programs, we have also worked with financial institutions to design financial products specifically tailored towards women. In Kenya, we supported the development of six tools for women micro-entrepreneurs and farmers. These interventions have proven successful, whereas 36% of partner financial institution customers are women. In Haiti, WOCCU has worked with savings and loans groups that are exclusively women, mostly women or have equal membership percentages between men and women. This inclusivity has created an equitable outreach strategy, and in some cases, female beneficiaries exceed male ones, such as in our Colombia program where 60% of beneficiaries are women. 

Gender sensitivity in field officer banking:  Field officers often travel into rural and remote areas to provide financial services (including financial literacy). Financial institutions using field officer banking target women beneficiaries by hiring female field officers, scheduling meetings that are aligned with the communities’ schedules, and ensuring that women are elected to leadership positions within the groups.  

 

P4P to address gender gap

WOCCU’s affordable housing finance project in Haiti uses pay-for-performance (P4P) incentives to target households headed by women to create access to affordable housing. WOCCU has introduced performance metrics that incentivize partner financial institutions to increase loans to women-led households, as well as to increase the percentage of housing loan portfolios held by women-led households. As of June 2017, 33 percent of housing finance loans were made to women-led households and 28 percent of the total housing portfolio is held by women. Under our recently concluded value chain finance program in Haiti, WOCCU placed mandatory pro-credit strategies aimed at increasing women participation, such as designing credit products for the trading of agricultural goods, an area largely dominated by women. This resulted in a 249 percent increase in women’s participation in agricultural finance between 2013 and 2015.