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Executive Summary for April 20th

In this week’s executive summary for Women’s Advancement Deeply: progress stalls on women’s financial inclusion, new funds for the World Bank’s entrepreneurship program and moves to protect domestic workers in the Gulf.

Published on April 20, 2018 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Financial Inclusion Gender Gap Persists

Women remain less likely than men to have bank accounts, despite an extra 1.2 billion people joining financial institutions over the past seven years, a new report from the World Bank has found.

Worldwide, 72 percent of men have an account, compared with 65 percent of women – a 7 percentage-point gap that has persisted since the organization began collecting data on financial inclusion in 2011. The position in developing countries is largely unchanged: 67 percent of men have a bank account, against 59 percent of women. Today there are 980 million women globally who do not have a bank account.

The report – launched at the World Bank’s spring meeting – polled 150,000 people in 144 countries in collaboration with Gallup, and was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

As well as having poorer overall access to banking services, women were found to be 11 percent less likely than men to be financially resilient in times of crisis and 5 percent more likely to have an inactive account.

World Bank Allocates $120 Million for Women Entrepreneurs

Also at the spring meeting, the World Bank announced the first funding round of the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative. Announced in July 2017 at the G20 and developed in collaboration with Ivanka Trump, it is intended to mobilize more than $1.6 billion in funds for female entrepreneurs from an allocation of $120 million.

In this round, the Asian Development Bank received $12.6 million to support entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka, while the Islamic Development Bank was granted $32 million to invest in women’s entrepreneurship in Yemen, Nigeria and Mali. The World Bank Group received $75 million for both public and private-sector initiatives.

Gulf Nations Mull Domestic Worker Accord

The Gulf Cooperation Council is considering a common policy on the recruitment and treatment of foreign domestic workers in the region, the National reports. Five members of the GCC – the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman – have discussed establishing a minimum wage across the region, to bring down extortionate recruitment fees, establish more transparency and combat abuse.

The safety of migrant domestic workers in the region has been in the spotlight since the body of Joanna Demafelis, a maid from the Philippines, was found stuffed into her employer’s freezer in Kuwait City in February.

Meanwhile, the UAE and Bangladesh have signed a memorandum of understanding on the recruitment of domestic workers. The UAE stopped issuing visas to Bangladeshi citizens in 2012, citing security concerns. The categories of worker covered by the new scheme are laborer, sailor, watchman, shepherd, falconer, housekeeper, cook, nanny, farmer, gardener, private trainer, private tutor, farm supervisor and private driver.

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