Gender equality as a key factor for growth and development. This was the central topic of the Women Economic Forum (WEF) organized by She Is Foundation, Wat Partners and All Ladies League in Cartagena (Colombia), from August 1st through 3rd.
The meeting, held for the first time in Latin America, brought together over 1,200 people from more than 20 countries, to talk about women’s role in sustainability, development, financial inclusion, digital transformation, culture, sports and science.
Over the course of the three-day gathering, government leaders, the private sector and international organizations took part in a range of panel discussions focused on these issues.
The president of Bancamía’s Board of Directors, Margarita Correa, also participated, emphasizing the importance of female inclusion for development: “Microfinance can meet financial needs, but is also an opportunity to support and create visibility for female entrepreneurship and to enable women to develop their full potential. We have reached a historical moment where we are recognizing women in a wider sense: their needs, their situation of exclusion and the potential impact that their development has on the future of nations,” she asserted.
More than half of the one million people served by Bancamía in Colombia are women: “we know that supporting them according their particular conditions allows us to increase scale in the long term, because their advancement means that we can also create opportunities for future generations”, explained Correa during her speech. BBVA Microfinance Foundation’s Colombian institution contributes to their economic empowerment through financial inclusion, providing support so that they can get ahead with their businesses. “As well as being microentrepreneurs, women spend a great part of their time looking after their families and on household chores, which is why, as part of Bancamía’s digital transformation, we are making new tools and channels available to them to make an impact on their efficient use of time,” she added.
During this panel, financial education was also discussed, as a determining factor which, in the words of Margarita Correa, “generates the confidence needed to make financial decisions and towards women’s economic growth.”
This growth is inextricably linked to empowerment. That is how the institution’s head of Women’s Empowerment, Ángela Panqueva, described it in her intervention in a panel discussion on the Principles of Women’s Empowerment, where stories about women entrepreneurs served by the MFI were shared, to show how they have overcome setbacks along the way. She also explained that historically, “Bancamía has been a promoter of inclusion and economic development.” And she added that, “Our commitment in Bancamía is to stay with our entrepreneurs to generate progress, to bring people together to build their future and to encourage them to dream,” she declared.
Panqueva stated that this historical moment is a road map to continue helping women’s economic empowerment. “Our shared goal is equity, and our inspiration: a better world for future generations,” she concluded.
This is demonstrated every day, by the 8,000 people who work in the BBVAMF Group, driving the sustainable development of over 2 million people, the vast majority of them women, so that together we can make this world a better and fairer place.