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Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President & CEO of Women's World Banking, on women's financial inclusion

Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO of Women's World Banking joins us to discuss the importance of women's financial inclusion.

We look at the topic of women’s financial inclusion from various angles, including digital literacy, social norms and impact investing, and we also look at some of the research that tells us that this is not just a moral imperative but also an objective that makes commercial sense.

Women’s World Banking is a 44-year old global non-profit organisation and they currently work with 65 partners in 36 countries. Their partners include a range of organisations, such as mainstream banks, FinTechs, mobile money provides and non-bank financial institutions that recognise the commercial potential of serving low-income women in a responsible and sustainable way.

About Mary Ellen Iskenderian

Mary Ellen Iskenderian is President and CEO of Women’s World Banking, the global

nonprofit devoted to giving low-income women in the developing world access to the

financial tools and resources they require to achieve security and prosperity.

She joined Women’s World Banking in 2006 and leads the Women’s World Banking global team, based in New York, and also serves as a member of the Investment Committee of its

two impact investment funds.

Mary Ellen is a passionate advocate for women’s economic empowerment through

greater access to finance and is a leading voice for women’s leadership in financial

services. She has spoken widely and published extensively on the topic of equality of

economic opportunity and women’s financial inclusion.

Prior to Women’s World Banking, Mary Ellen worked for 17 years at the International

Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank. She had previously

worked for the investment bank Lehman Brothers. Mary Ellen is a permanent member

of the Council on Foreign Relations, as well as a member of the Women’s Forum of

New York, and the UN’s Business and Sustainable Development Commission. She

serves as a Director on the Board of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

A 2017 Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Fellow, Mary Ellen holds an MBA from

the Yale School of Management and a Bachelor of Science in International Economics

from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Most recently, she was

recognized in the Forbes 50 over 50: Investment list, which highlights female investors

and financial leaders. Her first book, There’s Nothing Micro About a Billion Women:

Making Finance Work for Women, was published by MIT Press in April 2022.

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