Adama Bah: When women lead, business performance improves
Adama Bah, Oikocredit's Social Performance Analyst
Oikocredit’s work in promoting gender diversity and women’s leadership is in the spotlight. FinDev Gateway, a knowledge platform for the global financial inclusion community, interviewed our Social Performance Analyst Adama Bah recently.
“For these organisations, which serve mainly women clients, it is especially important for women to be in decision-making roles,” she said.
Adama explained the variance in approaches to women’s leadership and gender diversity among our organisations. “Some Oikocredit partners fully understand the importance of women’s leadership and gender diversity, whereas others may need convincing,” she said.
“When appropriate, we aim to increase awareness of the value of diversity within the leadership of financial service providers (or any organization, for that matter). We can draw, for example, on sound research that shows the positive effects of gender diversity in terms of financial and commercial performance.”
Since 2010, Oikocredit has assessed and monitored partner organisations on women’s participation and leadership amongst other key indicators. “This allows us to have this topic as a standard part of the conversations with our partners and to measure change,” Adama said.
“Women’s leadership helps make organizations more client-centric, reduces portfolio risk and improves staff productivity and retention, among other effects,” she added.
Supporting women’s empowerment through financial inclusion
In the interview, Adama also highlighted examples of our work in Latin America, the Philippines and Ghana, where Oikocredit has supported gender inclusion at the policy and product level.
In Latin America, we trained staff from a few microfinance and agriculture partners to implement Gender Action Learning System (GALS) tools.
Similarly, in the Philippines, we supported capacity building. Through our Bridging the Gender Gap in Responsible Financeproject, we provided training for staff and clients microfinance institutions, supporting economic empowerment through increased awareness of gender imbalances in the family.
And in Ghana, we partner with Plan International Canada and Plan Ghana in the Women’s Innovation for Sustainable Enterprises (WISE) project to support five organisations in becoming more gender responsive. The main way we do this is by developing financial products that are gender sensitive and address the needs of women entrepreneurs.
Towards the UN’s sustainable development goals
Oikocredit’s work contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular to SDG 5, which tackles advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.
Oikocredit provides providing credit, equity and capacity building to partners working in financial inclusion, agriculture and renewable energy in support of low-income people. We currently work with more than 350 financial service providers in Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean.
You can read the entire interview here
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