Our events

Our events

Women Entrepreneurs Finance Community of Practice - Gender Intelligent Design in Financial Services

29 March 2023
8 : 00
9 : 30
WEF COP 1ST 2023

The presentations shown during the meeting as well as the minutes are visible to Members of the SME Finance Forum who are logged in to the Member Portal.



The objective of the Women Entrepreneurs Financing Community of Practice (CoP) is to effectively share knowledge and best practices, tools, and innovative products to facilitate increased services to W-SMEs. To discuss and agree on how best to build a sustainable community of practice, we organized the first meeting on December 16th, 2020. Its purpose was to discuss and agree on priority areas of focus and how to best structure the CoP to serve members on how best to build a sustainable community to effectively share lessons learned on increasing financial services to W-SMEs.

The SME Finance Forum’s MSME Finance Gap estimates a $1.53 trillion finance gap for Women-MSMEs (W-MSMEs). To close the gender finance gap, it is important that banks, fintechs and other financial service providers (FSPs) embed the unique needs and constraints of women MSMEs and consumers in the design and delivery of financial services.

Historically, FSPs have offered “gender-neutral” products and services to both men and women. Demand-side constraints, combined with limited gender-disaggregated data, leave FSPs without good insights on W-MSMEs unique wants and needs for financial services. Hence, most financial products are designed “gender neutral” without women in mind. However, if product design does not intentionally consider women’s realities, it is built for men—as demonstrated by the persistent gender gap in financial and digital inclusion.

 A “gender-intelligent” approach aims to overcome women’s specific constraints through data-driven design based on market research to create distinct customer value. FSPs must take a gender-intelligent design approach, drawing on quantitative and qualitative research and focusing on creating value for womenTo close the gender finance gap and reap benefits for both W-MSME and their institutions, FSPs must take a gender-intelligent design approach.

During the next session our partners from Women’s World Banking and FinEquity will share evidence and examples of why designing financial services for women is critical. They will share practical insights, resources and tools on segmentation approaches, user research, design principles and methodologies. Reinforcing evidence that focusing on women can bring benefits to this largely untapped market, that flows back to the FSPs that serve them, and economies as a whole.

  • Demonstrate the potential for gender-aware design
  • Share experiences and lessons on gender-intelligent design and models
  • Showcase approaches, resources, and tools for gender-intelligent design
  • Deep Dive into research and market segmentation methodologies
  • Data – Gender disaggregated data, alternative data, filling data gaps  
  • Discuss challenges, mitigation techniques and possible solutions
  • Facilitate CoP participants’ contribution in sharing unique experience and solutions 
Jose Felix Etchegoyen - Senior Operations Officer - IFC
José has over 25 years of experience in international banking and emerging markets, focused on unbanked or underserved populations. Currently at IFC, he leads advisory services, product development and strategy for the Banking on Women business line. He also leads mentoring and training activities on best practices in Banking on Women. He supported several financial inclusion and women economic empowerment projects globally with focus on underserved populations (MSME, Women, Immigrants, etc.). He leads projects across two continents focusing on SME, gender finance and digital financial services. He supports banks in the structuring and launching of value propositions focus on sales approach, credit underwriting processes and non-financial services for middle market, SME, and micro segments. Jose leads IFCs Data and Gender Global Practice Groups to ensure the adherence to best practices across MSME banking, gender finance, data and analytics. Prior to joining IFC, he served as Director of Financial Services at PricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory Services in Washington D.C. and Principal Banking Solutions Specialist at SAS Institute in Miami, Florida. He also worked in leading FIs in the USA. and Latin America such as Citibank and Banco Santander. José holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in International Business Strategy and Finance from the Kellogg School of Management (Evanston, USA). 


Marina Dimova - Global Director, Financial Industry & Network Advocacy - WWB 

Marina as the Global Director of Financial Industry & Network Advocacy leads the efforts to support Network Members and financial services providers across the industry to adopt best practices, share knowhow and take tangible actions to advance women’s financial inclusion. Women’s World Banking’s vision is to build a strong peer-learning community, which not only supports Network Members along their respective journeys to women’s financial inclusion, but also is a strong voice and champion for women’s financial inclusion for the financial industry. Marina also leads Women’s World Banking Fintech Innovation Challenge and engagements and partnerships with the fintech industry. In her previous role as Managing Director, Design and Innovation, she focused on identifying and designing innovative financial solutions for women and girls. Marina is a designer with over 18 years of experience developing, implementing and scaling innovative solutions to social problems. Previously, Marina was a Vice President at ideas42 and Associate Research Director at Ikatu International. She has also worked on agricultural value chains and private sector development at the World Bank, and in finance and healthcare consulting.Marina holds an MPA in International Development from Harvard Kennedy School, and a B.A. in Economics and Government from Franklin & Marshall College.


Catherine Mclennan Highet - Consultant - FinEquity

Catherine  is the Digitally Enabled Financial Inclusion Thematic Lead at FinEquity. Prior to this role, Catherine worked with the GSMA Connected Women program and FHI 360, focusing on digital inclusion activities, including DFS, digital identity, and gender equality. She has also consulted for several digital development partners in the public and private sectors including IREX, Mozilla, and GIZ. 



If you are not a member and interested in participating,  please send an email to Minerva Kotei


Financial InclusionGender Finance