Women's Financial Inclusion Community of Practice

Globally, 2 billion people remain unbanked and women lag behind men in terms of access to formal accounts, credit and savings products. The Community of Practice on Women’s Financial Inclusion (COP) provides CGAP facilitated platforms to share experiences, identify key challenges, document and discuss emerging good practices, and solve common problems associated with increasing equitable access to and use of a broad range of financial services.

Our members include researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and donors around the world working on financial inclusion in promoting economic empowerment for women.

The COP’s steering committee consists of a core group of “champions” who guide our goals and strategy, outlined in our charter. Champions also help to implement an overarching work plan of the COP. Working Groups convene by theme and determine how to address knowledge gaps, as well as enhance collaboration among members in assigned themes. The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) facilitates the community of practice.

Read this primer to get answers to frequently asked questions, and learn more about all the different ways that you can engage with our COP. We look forward to your participation!

Headshot of Roshaneh Zafar
Meet Roshaneh Zafar

Roshaneh Zafar is founder and Managing Director of Kashf Foundation, which is Pakistan’s first specialized microfinance institution that focuses on serving the financial and non-financial needs of low-income households, especially women. Over the past 22 years, the Foundation has reached millions of poverty stricken families  and has cumulatively disbursed over 3.3 million loans amounting to over USD 581 million. Through Kashf’s work, Roshaneh is committed to creating an enabling environment for women micro-entrepreneurs and impact a positive change at the societal level. Roshaneh recently shared her experience and expertise with our COP by serving on our panel on Leveraging Social Norms Change.

Global Savings Groups Conference logo

SG2018 hosted by The Seep Network in Rwanda in May 2018 will offer a platform for attendees to connect, engage and learn from each other about the challenges and opportunities they face in supporting Savings Groups – including VSLAs, SHGs, indigenous savings groups, and other forms of community-based microfinance – worldwide.

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In addition to our LinkedIn Group, the COP recently launched a Twitter account to keep our members informed about upcoming webinars, events and publications. Please follow us @WFIChampions.

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The newly launched Gender Data Portal is the World Bank Group’s comprehensive source for the latest sex-disaggregated data and gender statistics and we encourage you to explore the financial inclusion data in the economic opportunities indicator. Further, the data portal provides easy access to visualization tools, manuals, training materials, and publications.

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The evidence that women both drive agricultural production and rely on it for their livelihoods means that greater financial and informational service provision to women, especially through digital channels, could increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their labor. While the numerous barriers to women’s access to digital financial services (DFS) are clear, clarifying the best methodologies by which to overcome these is both dependent on situational context and still subject to research and testing.


This report provides the state of play of current and promising efforts that use mobile technology and digitized data to close the gap in access to finance for women in agriculture.

New Research Sheds Light on Women's Intra-household Decision Making Power

Recent research conducted by CGAP, FIBR, and BFA explore how low-income customers acquire pay-as-you-go (PAYGo) solar services and products and how they afford it. In-depth interviews with 138 households in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, and Tanzania explored purchase decisions, assessments of value, and individual cash flow patterns before and after acquiring solar. One finding from the study was that the decision to purchase solar is primarily made by husbands despite the initial protests of their cost-conscious wives. Households often met payments by reducing women’s budgets and purchasing power in the day-to-day household budget.