First Step: Integrating Gender into Technology-Enabled Financial Sector Supervision
Thursday, Dec 02, 2021

First Step: Integrating Gender into Technology-Enabled Financial Sector Supervision

The panel explored:

  • Gender-aware, technology-enable financial sector supervision as an important means to achieving female financial inclusion.
  • The importance of explicitly identifying and considering the barriers women face to address the financial inclusion access gap. 
  • Keeping pace with the rapid advances in technology in general, and especially for financial services providers (FSPs). 
  • The business case for sex-disaggregated data (SDD) as a tool for both supervisors and FSPs to advance women’s financial inclusion.
  • How to overcome the obstacles that prevent supervisors and FSPs from collecting and using SDD.
  • The best role for supervisors to support an improvement in female financial inclusion.
Listen to the Podcast 

Watch the Webinar
Read the full Transcript

 Speaker 1: You're listening to a Toronto Center podcast. Welcome. The goal of TC podcasts is to spread the knowledge and accumulated experience of global leaders, experts, and world renowned special in financial supervision and regulation. In each episode, we'll delve into some of today's most pressing issues as it relates to financial supervision and regulation, the financial crisis, climate change, financial inclusion, FinTech, and much more. Enjoy this episode.

Anatol Monid: Welcome to our Toronto Center USA webinar on first steps, integrating gender into technology enabled supervision. There are over 100 registrants from over 20 countries attending. We're pleased to have an expert panel with us, which we'll introduce shortly. But first I would now like to ask Babak Abbaszadeh president and CEO of the Toronto Center to make his opening remarks.

Babak Abbaszade...: Thank you very much, Anatol. Welcome to today's webinar titled First Step: Integrating Gender Into Technology Enabled Financial Sector Supervision. This global event is the culmination of extensive work by Toronto Center and its dialogue with supervisory authorities in Colombia, Kenya, and Zambia, as well as the USAID and their affiliate invest DAI. We're most grateful for USAID's general support for this project. Since establishment in 1998, Toronto Center has trained more than 15,000 supervisors from 190 jurisdictions to build more stable, inclusive financial systems. We were the first financial supervisory training organization to focus on gender equality and the sustainable development goals. Women's ability to save, borrow, and control their money and to ensure themselves and their assets reduces poverty and promotes better health and nutrition outcomes for their families. Through our various programs, we have known for some time that there is a persistent gender gap between men's and women's usage of financial services and risks faced by women and men in personal, family, business and financial decisions are different.

The USAID funded project confirmed that there is also insufficient sex disaggregated data on which supervisors and financial services providers can evaluate and act. Prevailing research shows that using sex disaggregated data can make a difference by better understanding the needs of women and girls, promoting digital inclusion that extends financial services to the poor and rural women, and enabling proportional and risk based supervisory approaches to requirements like know your client.

Our objective was to develop a toolkit that will make it easier for financial regulatory authorities to better consider gender in their supervisory practices, how technology could help them to do so, and what might get in the way. Today, we're pleased to provide you with a glimpse at the toolkit that will be released later this year. We believe that gender is relevant to prudential and conduct of supervision and consumer protection. The toolkit allows authorities to explore the connection between gender awareness, supervision, and sustainable financial inclusion. Authorities' use of sex disaggregated data and technology can support gender aware supervision. Developing an overall sub tech roadmap for the authorities' information technology infrastructure development can make it easier to incorporate a gender dimension by reducing the extra investment needed to collect and use sex disaggregated data.

Finally, supervisors can start to become gender aware with relatively small amounts of data and existing tools. According to the IMF, risk to financial stability increase when access to credit is expanded without proper supervision. Unfortunately, countries with the biggest gaps in financial access also tend to have the lowest supervisory quality. So, investing in high quality supervision can pay big dividends as financial inclusion expands. In this context, employing the toolkit is a keyway for authorities to begin integrating gender and technology into their supervision.

Moreover, supervisors must strike a balance between mitigating to financial stability while promoting innovation and protecting consumers. Innovations in sub tech. Can make important contribution to this effort. Furthermore, our training programs can help supervisors address these challenges. We look forward to incorporating the toolkit strategies to our capacity building programs. We also look forward to continuing our work with the USAID in the future.

We are grateful to have expert panels today that come from the Global Affairs Canada, USAID, UNCDF, and the IMF, which are key to delivering development aid and technical assistance around world. Their perspectives on gender and financial inclusion are important because over one billion women worldwide do not have access to formal financial services. The objectives of this undertaking are closely aligned with the mission of Toronto Center. Therefore, I would like to thank our other highly valuable partners, Global Affairs Canada, Swedish International Developing Cooperation Agency, the IMF Jersey Oversees Aid and Comic Relief, and USAID. Sorry, and UNCIF, my apologies, who support our mission as does thank you. And I hope you enjoy the panel. Anatol Monid, back to you. Thanks.

Anatol Monid: Thank you Babak for that excellent context setting. A key part of the project that Babak mentioned is a toolkit to assist supervisors on their journey to gender awareness and supervision. I would like to call upon Jennifer Long, program leader and the toolkit's principle designer to provide a little more of a glimpse into the toolkit.

Jennifer Long: Thank you everybody. So, I'm going to give you an introduction to the toolkit and how it can be used by supervisory authorities. So, the toolkit builds on some work that we completed last year, also funded by USAID, where we work with partner authorities in South America and Africa, to see how they were using sex disaggregated data and technology in relation to financial inclusion.

And on the right, you can see the team that developed the toolkit, and in the bullets, the three topics that I'll cover in this presentation, what's in it, why we designed it the way we did, and crucially how it can help you.

So, what's in the toolkit? There are six modules. Modules A1 to A3 are about setting strategic direction. They help authorities to understand the connections between gender supervision and technology to baseline their starting position in these areas and in financial inclusion, and then to set their priorities, the next steps towards greater maturity. And then modules B1 to B3 help staff in the authorities to translate that strategic direction into practice in their supervision and their technology development. We think that authorities will get the most benefit out of using the whole toolkit, but modules B1 about planning technology development and B2, which is about incorporating gender in different aspects of supervision can also be used as standalone modules. And I'll say more about them in the next slides.

For each of these modules, we provide a suite of tools to support the rollout of the toolkit. And these are designed to be used by a coordinator within the supervisory authority who can use the guidance to tailor the materials, so they fit the needs of each particular authority. Each module has a coordinator guide, participant guide, workshop materials, and a guide to the output and follow up from each module. Several modules also have a topic guide, which explain key concepts and reference relevant international standards. And they also provide case studies and other examples of practical techniques for implementation. So, for example, in module B1 on developing a sub tech roadmap, we have guides to assessing your authority’s technology infrastructure along several dimensions, a guide on how to assess and identify the interdependencies between those dimensions and use them to help your planning, and a guide to available tools and standards for enhancing your authorities' use of technology for supervision.

So let's turn now to how the toolkit covers supervision itself. We cover how gender relates to both prudential and conduct supervision, as well as to financial inclusion. And we show how these strands can interconnect. For example, action you may take for prudential reasons to improve the gender balance on providers' boards can also bring inclusion benefits. Similarly, action you take to ensure that providers design and market products appropriate can bring financial inclusion as well as conduct and consumer protection benefits. This approach can help authorities to see where and how gender can be incorporated in their day-to-day supervision and where doing so can bring financial inclusion as well as other regulatory benefits.

In module B2, we drill down in more details to three topics, gender balance in providers' leadership and operations, product design, and customer complaints. And in each case, we provide tools and examples to help authority staff consider what they can do at each stage of the supervisory life cycle to build in a gender dimension, what data they need, how to get it and how to use it. We give examples that are data light and only require quite limited aggregated data reporting by providers in order to get started because much can be done even where more granular customer or transaction level data is not available. And we also give examples of what can be done at different stages of sub tech maturity.

Again, authorities can use this to make a start with their current tools, as well as to identify potential priorities for future development.

So now I'd like to say a word briefly about why we design the toolkit this way. In the first phase of the work that I referred to earlier, we saw that a lot of authorities' contributions to financial inclusion using sex disaggregated data was around gathering data for other parties to use to enhance gender equality or inclusion. And there was less clarity and fewer supporting tools available about where and how supervisory authorities themselves could a leadership role and embed gender enabled by that sex disaggregated data in their day-to-day supervision. So we've really focused in this toolkit, designing materials that help supervisory authorities take action themselves to become an agent of change in relation to gender and inclusion.

We also heard very clearly from our partner authorities that while authorities face many common challenges, they each have specificities about their context. And that meant that a one size fits all approach would not work. So, we've designed this toolkit in a way that guides the user on how to tailor it to their authorities' particular situation, that includes designing the materials in a way that the coordinator can adapt them and focus on the parts that are most relevant for your situation. And you can see this on the slide. We have slides from two workshops that we ran, one with SFC in Colombia, and one with the Central Bank of Kenya. We ran a third also with the Bank of Zambia, where we used a common set of tools, but we tailored them with input from the authorities to the particular situation of each authority.

And another way in which we made the toolkit adaptable was to use the concept of different generations of maturity. In this, we were inspired by a 4G sub tech matrix developed for the Bank of International Settlements. And you can see a summary of that in the technology and data line on the slide. For the toolkit, we developed a similar 4G approach for the supervision gender and inclusion dimensions. So, behind the summary you see on this slide, lies a further matrix, which gives a breakdown of the characteristics of each generation for each of those four dimensions.

So, if you use the toolkit, you will decide which generations best reflect where you're starting from on each of these dimensions and where you are aiming to get to. And this will help ensure that action planning using the toolkit is realistic and really relevant, whatever your authority is starting point.

So in conclusion, I hope you're starting to see how the toolkit can help you as a supervisory authority. And it's really designed to be practical and help you make the best use of the data and tools we already have, as well as building your capacity to do more and building gender into your day-to-day activities. Thank you.

Anatol Monid: Thank you, Jennifer, for that overview and for your work on the project, along with our other two program leaders, Petronella Dhitima and Ernesto Brodersohn. So, I know that the audience is eager to hear from our panelists, and we'll be taking your questions in the Q and A shortly after these introductions. So, let's say hello to our panelists, who represent our founders and funders starting with our sponsor representative, Paul Nelson, senior digital finance advisor at the United States Agency for International Development. Andrew Hurst, director, Global Affairs Canada, Jennifer Elliot, Division Chief international Monetary Fund, and Marianna Lopez, gender and policy advocacy lead United Nations Capital Development Fund. You can see their profiles on our registration page.

So once again, we welcome the questions from the audience, but first panelists, in your opening remarks, let's unpack the webinar theme. Thinking about gen under awareness technology and financial supervision, do these topics go well together? And why would they be important to your organization? Paul let's start with you.

Paul Nelson: Thanks, Anatol. And thanks, Jennifer, for the presentation. Everyone, glad to have you here. For us, I think certainly there is a link. In fact, that was one of the hypotheses that we had when we had the opportunity to fund this work with the Toronto Center, the hypothesis that there was untapped value in how sex disaggregated data could inform supervisory priorities and also once it's better used by industry, as well as by authorities, ideally be a means to address certain gender divides that are apparent in the financial sector. But to do that, we also recognized that there are some dependencies that supervisory authorities and industry rely on. They need to have the right types of data sources. They need the right types of IT systems and capabilities to be able to analyze data effectively. And they also need to have, as you were saying earlier for the module A, a set of tools. They need to have a strategic direction and set of priorities to find so that this actually links up or graphs well onto their traditional supervisory objectives.

Anatol Monid: Okay. Thank you, Paul. Andrew, would you like to go next?

Andrew Hurst: Yes. Thanks, Anatol. And good morning, good afternoon. Good evening, everyone, fellow panelists, and participants joining us from around the world. First of all, I'd like to thank the Toronto Center for organizing this event. The Toronto Center's been a longstanding partner of the government of Canada in promoting stable and inclusive financial systems around the world. And perhaps I'll just make a couple of comments for the more general context, and then get to the question, which I think will explain why Canada supports this important work. So, Canada, as many of you know, has a feminist international assistance policy, which is grounded in our belief that gender equality and empowerment of women and girls is the most effective approach to eradicating poverty and building a more peaceful and inclusive and prosperous world. And when women are able to realize their full economic potential, economies thrive, and the benefits of growth reach more people. Now to realize this, we all have a role to play, including financial regulators and supervisors.

And we're very pleased with USAID's decision to collaborate with the Toronto Center in examining the role of financial regulators to address financial inclusion for women. And we're also very pleased to see the IMF and the UNCDF who are included in today's discussions, because they're both key institutions to these issues. This toolkit is important because it responds to financial regulators' and supervisors' demand for practical, a practical guide on integrating gender into their work. And the Toronto Center is poised, is well positioned to help based on its solid international reputation and translating complex issues into practical techniques and guidance for their partners. So, we do hope that this toolkit will provide some helpful knowledge once it's formally approved. And we look forward to hearing from financial authority partners as well on the value of the toolkit to the work.

So, as we know, when women have limited access to financial services, this is a barrier for their economic empowerment. And for women to participate equally in economies, they must have greater access to and control over assets such as land, housing, and capital. Limited access to financial services, such banking, credit, and insurance make it difficult for lower income households to recover from events such as poor harvest or a health crisis. Limited access to financing results and lost economic opportunities. We all need to break down these barriers that limit women's access to financial services. And to do this, we need systemic changes. And this toolkit at and Toronto Center's work more generally is an important part of this effort. So, there's three suggestions in responding to this particular question and why this toolkit is an important. First, we need to raise awareness amongst key stakeholders, and this kind of event that brings regulators and supervisors together is an important first step from our perspective.

Second, the availability of technology today provides us with great opportunities, but we need to devote more effort on research and analysis to understand how best to do this. The study that's supported by USAID is a good example of this work that we should be doing more of. And third, again, back to my main point, and that is regulators and supervisors have a critical role to play. Women in other vulnerable populations, not having access to financial services is a key risk to our economies. So, if there's a risk in this case, that means there's a role for supervisors and regulators, and these efforts are all linked. And our interventions in this space will not be sustainable unless we're looking at one of these specific areas. Thanks.

Anatol Monid: Thanks for that great summary, Andrew. Mariana Lopez of UNCDF what are your thoughts?

Mariana Lopez: I completely agree with what Andrew just said. For us, when we work with policy makers on the ground, what we want to help them to do is to build gender intentional policies that are sustainable, but for that to happen, we need a clear base to start with. We need to better understand the problem. And we always get the same question of, "Well, tell me again why this is important. Yes. Financially question for women and the benefit of financial products for women, yes. But what is my role as a supervisor in this whole thing? If we already have a national financial [inaudible 00:21:19] strategy, why should I be worrying about these issues?" And then the next question is, "Well, assuming that I have all this data, then what am I going to use it for?" And that's where I see the value and the benefit in this toolkit.

The first one is breaking that out into the strategic part and the operational part. When you start thinking about the problem, the first question you need to ask is, "Well, what data is out there and how am I going to use it? How can I leverage low hanging fruit?" And then thinking about more creatively, how does this translate into a proper investment? What else would I need to get to, to actually fill in those gaps?

And then the second component is the gender mainstreaming throughout the whole process. It is about understanding the importance of yes, women, but it's also about assessing whether you have that institutional readiness. Do you have the capacity and the diversity internally to really leave up to that commitment to gender equality? And how does that really is going to play out in practice? And again, then when you look at the toolkit and the way it's broken down into the different generations, that's when I see the value. It's about this holistic perspective of aligning the data with the actual supervisory cycle, but also understanding that it is a commitment to overall gender equality that has to be embedded into the whole institution for any change to be sustainable and meaningful.

Anatol Monid: Thank you, Mariana. And Jennifer, over to you, three top, three components, how do you assess them?

Jennifer Elliot: Yeah, I also agree that they go together, but to agree with your fellow panelists and just to think a little bit about a couple of the issues that Andrew and Marianna raised about why should supervisors care? We've been struggling at the IMF to think about how does gender effect financial stability. And we see links. So, we've done some work starting back in 2015 on what is the connection between financial stability and gender. And we do see a connection. We see when there are more women on boards, you have better resilient outcomes, as Jennifer Long presented. We also see that the more gender inclusion you have in a financial system, the more stable it is. And there's still work to be done on how to establish those channels. How does that exactly work?

And I think about it like risk management, which is a bit what Andrew said. If you have a more diverse set, then you have a better risk management. We still have a long way to go, but I think it's important to think about the connection to financial stability that warms supervisors' hearts a little bit and thinking we're not doing something at a fairness, we all want fairness, but our job here is financial stability. And thinking about financial inclusion and gender inclusion as financial stability topics, particularly in developing economies where this is very real will help and supervisors, I'll go back to Paul's comments, supervisors are really a catalyst and developing economies for pushing things ahead. In particular, in risk management and tooling up. A lot of push comes from supervisors and some of those listening is probably thinking, "Thanks a lot, Jennifer, more work for me."

But if we think about it as integral to the financial stability story and think about the role of supervisors and driving forward greater financial stability and better risk management practices then I think it does very much fall in supervisors' laps and what I loved about the toolkit watching it, it's really concrete. So, supervisors are looking for concrete actions they can take. And then just wheeling back to technology. Technology is where we are. So, this is both the solution and the risk right now. And it's the solution for inclusion. That's a very well laid out story about a technology and inclusion. But it's also the solution for efficiency and supervisors. So again, better use of the data and how to toolkit it is going to be really helpful in resource strapped supervisors. So, I definitely think the topics go together.

Anatol Monid: Thank you, Jennifer. The audience has been listening intently. We're hoping that we get a couple of questions coming out, but I'm going to take the moderator's prerogative and continue to probe. For Marianna, Paul, and Andrew, as funding organizations, what do you see as the most exciting opportunity to improve female financial empowerment? Let's start with Mariana.

Mariana Lopez: I guess there so many exciting opportunities if you put it that way. And coming back to the point of data, I think that is the cornerstone of anything that we choose to take forward. Whenever we think about a policy, a product, a service initiative, a program, we need a starting point. We need a benchmark. We really need to assess the situation to really understand what the problem is. And the worst thing that we can do is go with these assumptions that we have a clear understanding of the problem, and then try and implement something, be it again, a policy, a product, a service. And what we need is better quality data. And we need a cycle that provides it on a sustainable basis. That is, it's a journey. Whenever we think about collection and aggregation, it's always like, "Oh, well, it's something that we need to hit. It's a benchmark in the future."

Where in reality, it's something that we need to build, gradually. It's a virtuous cycle of collecting it, informing policy, and then letting it feedback again. So, when we think about opportunities, we think about, again, the capacity that is required to leverage this data and to collect it, but also to collaborate. And we need an ecosystem approach. We need to ensure that yes, supervisors have access to this data, but to get to that point, we need to engage with the industry. We need to engage with providers. We need to understand their own limitations, their capabilities, and their own focus. If we can articulate the value of data for all of the players, then we are in a much better place to get anything off the ground.

Anatol Monid: Thank you, Mariana. Andrew? 

Andrew Hurst: Sure. Thanks. There's obviously lots of things that need to be addressed. I think I'd say one of the first and biggest ones is the question of ID. We know how important civil registration of vital statistics are for governments, but for individuals and citizens, having an ID is the access to everything. Whether it's government services and accessing public services or private services like banking and other financial services. So, this is a critical thing that needs to be improved, particularly for women. There are also questions around lack of collateral. This continues to be an issue for many women in many societies where, for a variety of reasons, they don't have equal access to title on land and other kinds of assets that would be considered collateral for accessing financial services. There are certainly mobility constraints amongst women, but there's also in some cases, questions of financial literacy.

One of the other things, which we know is critical to addressing women's economic empowerment, are regulatory barriers, including ones related to the collection of the sex disaggregated data. It's hard to develop policies and programs and tools without this kind of information. So, I think it was Peter Drucker who said many years ago, "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it." And as half of societies, if you don't understand your markets, you're not going to be able to provide the kinds of targeted and tailored services that they need. And I would say that this extends beyond just sex disaggregated data. There are all sorts of other data that financial service providers should be collecting and looking to understand their markets. And this is a case where intersectionality is as important as any other domain. There's lots of areas that we could and should be investing in, and are, but those are some of the ones that come immediately to mind.

Anatol Monid: Thanks for that good list. Paul?

Paul Nelson: Yeah. I was just building off what you've just heard. I might be a little biased because I'm a digital finance advisor. And so naturally I'm thinking first of technology as an opportunity, both to extend financial services to new people, or to develop new ones or to enable different business models for providing useful financial services. And yet at the same time, we at USAID are fully cognizant of the risks that certain innovations can introduce as well, whether there's cybersecurity or consumer protection or related to data privacy or even unintended discriminatory impacts through algorithmic bias, with AI, for example, in the credit context. But certainly, I think technology is an opportunity insofar as over the last few years, there seems to have been an upswing in the recognition of the imperative for women's financial inclusion, women's economic empowerment. As Jennifer was noting also how that links to traditional financial sector objectives, that there might be financial stability and so forth.

And at the same time, our ability to use technology to pursue some of those ideas that we've developed is also catching up. You have this conceptual framework that articulates links between women's economic arm and some of these objectives that we're discussing today. And now you're beginning to develop the technological readiness to put that conceptual framework into practice. So, I think that's an opportunity. And just building off what Andrew mentioned about collateral. I remember an [inaudible 00:32:01] survey a few years ago that had found that even though something like 60% of respondents identified collateral as an obstacle for lending for women, there was something like 25% of authorities that actually had policies or strategies in place for alternative data. So going back to this issue of data being an opportunity, different types of data being an opportunity to address longstanding barriers to certain types of financial services provision.

Anatol Monid: Thanks, Paul. So, we're still waiting for our first question from the audience, but Jennifer, I'm going to put a little bit of a different spin on that question for you that the IMF does, the financial sector assessment programs. Is this something, female financial empowerment and inclusion, something that is going to make its way into the assessment process in the same way you have talked about incorporating climate risk activities?

Jennifer Elliot: That's a good question, Anatol Monid. I don't think we're there yet. As I mentioned, we're still thinking about how are the channels for the impact of gender on financial stability, and what does that really look like? But we do have something called the Financial Sector Stability Program, which is actually a diagnostic for technical assistance, which we do in low-income countries. And we do want to wrap gender into that because we see gender inclusion as so important in low-income environments where inclusion is low, where capacity is low. And so, we would like to start there and work a little bit to connect these things where authorities are already quite keen to think about how can they improve things? I must say the toolkit is very appealing for that work. I think we do want to build it into our capacity development a bit more, the F-SAP itself might be a little further out in the sense that more analytical work really does need to be done to make those connections and to ask, "What would you be looking for?"

Just listening to the last question and everyone else. One thing I was thinking about is that supervisors themselves need a framework for this. The toolkit will help, but Paul was talking about a framework to put it all in. And Andrew had a lot of examples. And I think maybe thinking about a supervisory framework that helps supervisors to organize what the potential barriers are, what the opportunities are, would also be something, a work in progress for the international community generally going forward. And then once we get past that, maybe we think about F-SAPs and how they would look at how supervisors are looking at it.

Anatol Monid: Thanks for that. I think it's important that supervisors think of what's coming down the pipeline and not only in the framework of development, but also in the oversight of supervisory activities. And maybe this is a call for the standard setters to start to think about that within there.

We have our first question. So instead of my list of questions, why don't we go to Andrea who says, "You mentioned the inability of women legally to hold property or to own accounts in their own names inhibits their access to official funding channels. What are your views as to how this problem can be remediated?"

So let me start with, I think Andrew, you mentioned it first, let's start with you. How can this access to property issue be mitigated?

Andrew Hurst: Well, thanks. It's not one that has a single solution. And obviously it depends very much on the context that you're talking about. There have been many efforts to address these questions through legal reforms, for example. Legal reforms are not always easy to do and require a pretty significant political engagement, particularly on the part of women's rights organizations, which we've been supporting for many years. And we recognize that the fact that these kinds of discriminatory legal laws or legal situations persist is not by accident. And unless those who are suffering a discrimination and in the face of it are able to organize and demand change, nothing's going to happen. At the same time, there are other ways I think that the issue can be addressed without tackling those fundamental systemic issues.

And Paul mentioned that some financial institutions are experimenting with other forms of collateral, or other ways of building assurance that the loans they offer will be paid back. There are years of experience now from micro credit, some of which shows what works and some of which shows it doesn't, but there are alternative ways of providing financial services that aren't always based on collateral per se, or that aren't based on traditional forms of collateral. So maybe those would my two first and immediate responses, but I welcome others view as well.

Anatol Monid: Thank you, Andrew. Marianna?

Mariana Lopez: Sure. I think Andrew's right. Sometimes it depends on the context. Sometimes it's about changing specific policies that prevent women from owning land or property. Sometimes it's about being a bit more creative on the types of assets that you allow for collateral. Like you said, sometimes jewelry, for example, can be taken as something. I don't think there's a good example of that yet, but it's something I definitely heard as an option for women. And yes, there's definitely the opportunity to leverage technology using, for example, the data of women's payments or their money as a way to analyze their ability to repay a micro loan, for example. That's a creative way to go around the situation. But it also brings up a problem that certain things cannot be leapfrogged when it comes to social norms. Technology can only get us so far, and same for supervision.

When we think, for example, a consumer protection and regulation, it's key that those are in place, but then we see behavioral change as the second part of the problem. So, you can have this policy in place, but if in reality, women are not comfortable. If they don't understand their rights, if they don't have the capability, or the literacy to engage with this product and services, then regulation can only go so far. And going back to the existing approach and why supervisors need think about financial literacy, but there's also a need to collaborate with the private sector and with donor civil society to ensure that we all are tackling the same problem, because this entails systemic change. And it's not something you were going to fix with one product in six months or a one given pilot. This is something that's going to take 50 years, at best.

Anatol Monid: Jennifer, do you want to comment on this at all?

Jennifer Elliot: I'm just violently agreeing but feeling sad that 50 years was the timeframe because I won't live long enough to see it. But I agree. And I just was thinking when I was younger and such an action oriented person, I would've thought all this talking would get you nowhere, but I actually think that talking is the important thing. It is what Mariana said. It's building those behavioral changes and the consensus and the buy-in and putting some ... Persuading people through whatever channel appeals to them, right. And us, in our case, it's hardcore analytics. It helps people to understand how these things are connected. And I think more of that from everyone and coming together and having that discussion moves the behavioral needle.

Paul Nelson: Anatol, I'd like to just chime in and offer-

Anatol Monid: Absolutely.

Paul Nelson: So, I would completely agree with the comments just made. I think the appeal of alternative forms of collateral movable assets registries, or payments data, that sort of thing, transaction data, it's unfortunate that its appeal is driven by the fact that there is a very difficult problem that still needs to be addressed, that we haven't yet cracked. This issue of either social norms that limit control over property or legal barriers to having title outright as a woman. Obviously, on the one hand, there is an opportunity to take advantage of these novel approaches to address collateral in different ways. But it's important to recognize that in some measure that might also be a coping mechanism due to that other issue that still also needs to be addressed.

And this discussion raised a question that I posed to you, Jennifer, related to the financial sector as an industry itself. So, something that USAID is also interested in advancing gender equality and equity is looking at women's empowerment from a leadership in the financial sector standpoint, supervisory leadership, board representation, management, ownership of financial institutions. Not simply line staff, for example, where you sometimes see more gender disparity. And there's a question for me there about the data that authorities would have on the makeup of the financial sector itself, of regulated entities, for example, and whether supervisors generally would view that as relevant to their mandate. Because it is something that's a little bit, it's not about financial stability risks directly, or per se, it's about understanding how the financial sector is evolving and being responsive to the needs of a more diverse group of people. But [crosstalk 00:42:35] that's also a question.

Anatol Monid: Which Jennifer where you focused on there, Jennifer Long or Jennifer Elliott?

Paul Nelson: I'll open it to both. I think both of you would have some great insight.

Anatol Monid: Yes, yes. Okay.

So, Jennifer Elliot, why don't you start?

Jennifer Elliot: So, it's a good question, Paul, and I think there's a great deal of interest. So, we've started doing a few small regional webinars in different regions in the globe on this exact topic for central banks, really, thinking about their own leadership and then with a spill over effect into the private sector, because it generally does [inaudible 00:43:15]. And there's a huge amount of interest, but not a lot of data yet. So, I think that's an area that could be quite fruitful. I think Jennifer Long will say more, but we do have some significant evidence that it makes a big difference to resilience, which should be what we're all after. So, I'll let Jen go next.

Anatol Monid: Okay. Jennifer Long.

Jennifer Long: All right. So maybe picking up on a couple of the points so far, so just on this specific question about leadership. So, this is something that we cover very explicitly in the toolkit and building on some of the work that the IMF did a few years ago, other supervisory authorities on the now starting to gather the academic evidence that shows that there are better supervisory outcomes for prudential and conduct risk management on boards, in institutions with gender balance boards. And so, the evidence I think is building that means that supervisors really need to start thinking about how this is a core part of their activities. And obviously that may well have inclusion benefits and fairness benefits, but for their own traditional mandates, I think it's going to be important. So, I think, as Jennifer Elliot was saying, we are now starting to see a bit more evidence to support getting this into the mainstream.

And this is something that the toolkit can help address. And if I may also just touch on the previous point, which was about barriers to access around collateral, or for example, and where we have those structural barriers, again, clearly in this toolkit, we can't address all of those. But what we do is a couple of things which may help authorities when they're navigating, what they can do. So, firstly is we do give examples of some of the policy interventions that have been made in some countries to try to address some of those structural barriers? So, things like registries of movable collateral, for example, to try to broaden the collateral that women can provide for access to credit. But then we also, in our product design module, we look very much at how super advisors can really challenge financial services providers to think very creatively about what they can do within the applicable framework to provide ways of getting over these barriers that enable women to have access anyway.

There are plenty of examples of where that has worked, and this is something where we supervisors can play a role in keeping that dialogue. And that is a core part of what we're trying to do in terms of ensuring that customers are treated fairly in relation to access and their use of financial services, as well as making sure that we build in that gender equality that we're aiming for. Thank you.

Anatol Monid: Thanks, Jennifer. I'm going to come back to you in a second on a couple of the questions that relate to sub tech from the audience and Andrew, I saw you wanted to make a point, so give we'll give Jennifer a chance to read the questions and hear from you.

Andrew Hurst: Yeah, thanks. Just a brief point to emphasize a thread throughout some of these comments. And that is it's absolutely important to recognize the relationship between addressing the situation of women and other aspects of diversity and its connection with the mandates of financial and supervisory institutions. But I think it's also important to point out that it's also the right thing to do, quite apart from whether it's a question of core to their mandates or not. To go off script a little bit, these institutions are embedded in the societies in which they serve, and if they don't look like and aren't representative of the populations that they're put in place to serve, then that's a problem in and of itself. So, I'm very hopeful that we can get beyond the issue of why financial and supervisory institution should be addressing this issue to how they can. And I think the toolkit is a great step in that direction.

Anatol Monid: Thanks. It's important to do the right thing for supervisors, so that's a really good point, Andrew. So, Jennifer Long, back to you now. The couple of questions from Max and Carol are related to sub tech, and I know that in the work we did with our partner authorities, they were at various different stages of development in sub tech. So perhaps you can give a general question about the toolkit is not yet ready, it's only been partially tested against some of these. But perhaps an insight into the kind of sub tech we saw and how it might be used with the toolkit.

Jennifer Long: Yeah, so I think the key thing about the technology that is useful for supervisors in relation to building gender in is to think about the fact that it's really often no different from what you need to be an effective supervisor in every other part of your mandate. So, this is really about all the different techniques and technologies that exist to enable you to collect data, process it, and analyze it, and then work out how to use it and see what impact it's having. So, a lot of the technology approach that we build in the toolkit capitalizes on the kind of technology development that many supervisors are trying to do anyway, maybe for their prudential supervision. So effectively, a lot of this is about enhancing their capacity to collect and then analyze big data sets.

Obviously you need different physical infrastructure. You also need different analytical capabilities, both technological, and then your staff as well. So I think rather than focusing on any one technology, a lot of this is really about making sure that when supervisory authorities are developing their sub tech capabilities, they're thinking about what's the gender thread that runs through here? And they're building that in. Whether it's by adding in specific in their data sets, which are collecting, which are gender disaggregating, for example, the customer profile of an institution, or whether it's using more sophisticated techniques to enable them to deduce gender balance from free text information, by using natural language processing on a free data thing, or whether it's web scraping to see how women are responding differently to men, to products, through social media or other elect channels that are available.

So all the fundamental concepts that we're using are really the things that supervisors are thinking about for the whole range of their work. And what we're giving is lots of examples of where you can build in that gender dimension through the work that you're looking to do to develop your general supervisory capability. I think the other thing, though, going back to a point that Andrew mentioned earlier, where clearly there are some specific technologies that may help overcome some barriers that women face are about means of identification. And obviously with biometric, we have particular technological opportunity, which supervises themselves are not going to be using, but which is part of the arsenal of questions that supervisors may be asking firms, which is, "Well, how are you using technology to help overcome some of these barriers that might traditionally have made it more difficult for women to access your products?"

Anatol Monid: Great, thank you, Jennifer. Dusil has a question on insurance products and let me take that from the work we did last year, and this year is that there are many different insurance products design for women, some design simply with a branding of a female or women's product and not really distinct from other products, other organizations are tailoring their products to women and using that. And the work we did in Peru, Columbia, Zambia, and Kenya demonstrated that there are financial institutions that are looking to develop those types of products and Dusil, you could look at our report on how regulators can use sex disaggregated data to improve financial inclusion to see some good examples there. So, thanks for that question. We're coming back to the moderator’s prerogative. I'm going to go off script a little bit here. We're at the brink of COP26, and I'd like, perhaps your views on whether the attention to climate risks can potentially overtake, or is there a danger of it overtaking the issues of female inclusion, or is there a connection? Let me start with Mariana.

Mariana Lopez: I guess the problem is trying to break them apart, trying to think of climate change or gender equality as competing priorities. There is sufficient evidence that demonstrates that women are [inaudible 00:52:33] affected by climate change. But the important question is, again, how do we build a more inclusive society that is sustainable? And you can't have one without the other. You can't have sustainable production system that is not harming to the planet that is not inclusive. And the same on the other hand, you can't design and have a product that benefits society in general, if it's on the other hand harming the planet. So, I would say that when we think about these questions, we, we need to have a holistic approach. And I know that that is generic and that is not sufficiently specific, and that people want the action points that you have to do A, B and C.

But the reality is that the first step is to think about again, what is it that we want, what is it that we hope to achieve? And then do the right thing and build on those. Build on the data that we have, understand the gaps that we need to address, and work together. And again, it's all very general and it's not too specific, but I would only caution anybody who who's working on this space, who thinks that you can't fix gender equality without addressing climate change. That that is not the way to go about it. And the more that we for ourselves to go back to the drawing board and do that exercise say, "Let's rethink our priorities again," I think the more we're likely to succeed.

Anatol Monid: Thanks for that. Andrew, your thoughts.

Andrew Hurst: Sure. I mean, I totally agree with Mariana. I mean, the issues are not ... You can't separate them. And in fact, any effort to address large systemic issue, if you're not taking into consideration gender and diversity considerations, the responses to it are not going to be equitable and not going to be effective. To take a specific example when we come to the responses and actions required to address climate, renewable energy is central to that. And we know that for the services and potential that are offered by digital technologies, you need to have steady supplies of power. So when you think about where women are, what businesses women are involved in, in the informal economy for example, how do the energy systems that are being transitioned towards lower or no carbon, how are those supporting women as entrepreneurs, as business owners, as workers, or in the household?

So, these questions are linked at the macro level in terms of structural and systemic risks. And they're linked at the micro level. This is an issue you could look at, not just in terms of climate, but in terms of debt questions as well. And I'm really happy to see that the IMF now has a gender advisor to think about how and support its supporting countries to deal with debt sustainability issues. They're looking at gender as a critical component of those responses. So, it's not an either/or, it's a both and how.

Anatol Monid: Okay, good. Not an either/or. Jennifer, how about you? Any comments?

Jennifer Elliot: We definitely see them in the same way as wrapped together in an inclusive recovery. In terms of climate impact, also think about the ability to manage climate impact and natural disasters and so on. The more inclusion you have, the better the recovery and the resilience and the pandemic was of course, an example of where countries were better able to get payments to women and be more inclusive. Economic recovery is a little more assured or on a better footing. It's similar when there are flooding or agricultural disasters. You want a more inclusive financial sector, that's going to help recover from those. So it absolutely related.

Anatol Monid: Thanks. And Paul, I noticed in the last newsletter from the USAID, that climate was figuring prominently in some of the articles. Is female financial inclusion going to be overtaken by the climate risk issues?

Paul Nelson: I think this is a both situation. We have a lot of investments now centered on women's economic empowerment, and that will continue. In fact, just fairly recently, we launched the GIA fund or GIA fund, which is the gender equality and equity and equality action fund, which for FY21 is expected to be some somewhere around a $100 million. And that is intended to be a way to help support women's economic empowerment issues, to address gender based violence issues and to address issues that lead to vulnerability in a wide range of circumstances. And as Jennifer was just saying, climate is one of those areas in which if you are living on the margin, or if you are historically excluded, or if you don't have very many resources, then when an economic or income shock hits, you are not in a position to sustain your livelihood. So from a resilient standpoint, there's certainly a connection to be made between our climate efforts and women's economic empowerment.

The other point that's perhaps worth making here, as I mentioned, this GIA fund also includes focus on gender based violence. And I think one role that we haven't really touched on yet for supervisory authorities from a data standpoint is getting insight on gender divides within the financial sector. And again, from a financial resilience, from a financial empowerment standpoint, that can then be used by other policy makers, other ministries, that also have mandates of in some form advancing women's equality or women's economic empowerment. And gender based violence is often something that you see when there are financial stressors on the household, or when there is tensions over how control over resources at the household or business level are managed and insights that financial sector authorities can generate, can enable effective policy responses in those other domains.

Anatol Monid: Thank you. So looks like the questions are prying up. So let me give you the opportunity as funders, and Paul, we'll let you wrap up at the end here, but as funders and those who can influence capacity building efforts, what advice would you have for our audience that is made up of supervisors of other civil society organizations and other capacity building organizations? What advice would you give them about the issue of female financial inclusion and where could they focus their resources and efforts best? So let me start with Jennifer Elliot.

Jennifer Elliot: I think it's important for supervisors to see this as central to the mandate. That's the most important thing. And then the next step is to figure out how you're going to frame the execution of your mandate, so to speak, where you can tuck it in to your everyday work. Something like the Toronto Center toolkit might help you with that analysis and taking it forward in a very concrete way.

Anatol Monid: Thank you. Mariana?

Mariana Lopez: I agree. I think it's important to keep an eye on, on the reason why it's about financial stability. It's about financial integrity. It's about the responsibility to have and build trust in this system. It's about the responsibility to protect your consumers and their rights, and that includes everyone. And then starting from that, think about your capacity, think about are you ready? And are you living up to that commitment to inclusivity, be it gender, or more than that? And by promoting diversity within your own ranks, are you collaborating sufficiently with other institutions? And what are your plans to take this forward?

Anatol Monid: Great. Thank you. Andrew?

Andrew Hurst: Yeah. Thanks. I'd say there are two things. One is, as we've discussed a number of times today, supporting actors to collect, analyze, and use disaggregated data, whether that's by gender, sex, ethnicity, race, age, sexual orientation, what have you. That's a critical part of the equation and actors like the Toronto Center have been very good at supporting institutions to do this. The other is applying a gender lens when it comes to thinking about financial inclusion and figuring, thinking through ways to help women access capital and increase the quality of financial products that are provided, and services as well. So I know that the Toronto Center is developing a toolkit for authorities to self-assess gender awareness and technological options. So I think these are all great steps and I'm assuming and very hopeful that clients of the Toronto Center are ... This is meeting their demands, because that's what we've always heard, that they get the big picture. They just need some practical support.

Anatol Monid: Yes, thanks, Andrew. That was part of the mandate that we had for this project, as Paul will attest, that this was not something that we wanted to build and would remain on a bookshelf. It was something that was technically proficient. It was applicable to supervisors at all levels and at all capacities and almost a pick and choose. So Paul, last words for you. I was wondering whether you were going to pose a question to the panelists as you've done in the past, but let's let you take a few minutes to summarize your thoughts and the ideas behind this project and the work that USAID is doing.

Paul Nelson: Well first. Thanks all. Thanks again, Anatol Monid and team for all the work that you've done with the Toronto Center on this. And I really do encourage everyone to pay attention to the Toronto Center's email updates and newsletter updates in their website for when the toolkit is completed by the end of this year. So that's perhaps the most important thing. To your question of advice for supervisors, I'm not sure that I'm in a position to offer advice to supervisors. So I'll just offer a couple observations and leave it at that. I would say, first of all, as I think Andrew mentioned, a focus on gender and women's economic empowerment is consistent with your mandate. It's not just consistent with your mandate, but it is a means to fulfill your mandate. So I think that's number one.

And number two, don't edit or estimate your leadership or ability to influence through your leadership, the financial sector and financial entities that you oversee. As I mentioned earlier, one of our hypotheses was that sex disaggregated data was not fully used, either for capacity reasons or for perhaps doubt or a lack of clarity or understanding or buy-in, with respect to how sex disaggregated data relates to certain policy objectives, or the day to day issues that any financial service provider faces.

And there's a role to play for supervisors to help connect those dots and to help shed a light on where this can actually help address certain things. And sometimes supervisors are having to wield the stick, so to speak, with industry. And in this case, I think it's more about offering a carrot because I think better using sex disaggregated data is in the interest of policy makers from a women's economic compartment standpoint. But as we were saying earlier, from a financial stability and a risk management and a financial inclusion standpoint as well.

And then lastly, going the intent behind the toolkit itself, I would encourage supervisory authorities to not assume that you need to be the most advanced in terms of technological readiness, to start having a discussion about using sex disaggregated data. There are things as the toolkit outlines that you can do that are feasible, given your particular environment, your industry's particular readiness to use different types of technological solutions that enable you to use sex disaggregated data.

So don't let the fact that you might not be fully AI enabled, for example, prevent you from taking the first couple steps and using it more effectively. There are many ways that SDD can be used that don't require those really advanced technologies and the toolkit can help clarify what those are.

So with that, I would just say, I we're really gratified with the work that the Toronto Center has done, and you might have seen folks in the chat, you might have seen my colleague, Jennifer Hansel. She posted further information on the GIA Fund. So I encourage you all to look at that and that articulates very well what we hope to do more of as an agency, not just with respect to technology and data, but with respect to women's economic empowerment broadly. So with that, I'll just hand it back to you, Anatol Monid, and say, thank you again.

Anatol Monid: Well, thank you, Paul, and again, thank you USAID for their support and our other funders for their support. What I, and I appreciate that the point on your Samantha Powers remarks on gender and climate dialogue, the state fragility nexus. So that spoke right to the topic, the question we had.

What I heard from this August group is that supervisors and capacity builders have the opportunity to influence. It's in their mandate to consider female financial empowerment. And that even if it isn't in your mandate, it's the right thing to do. And for all of us, I want to thank you panelists, Jennifer Long as well for your generous time and thoughtful insights. I appreciate the audience for their questions that have come up. And I think that you have helped set the minds of supervisors to be thinking about the value of gender aware supervision.

And just a reminder that we will be releasing the toolkit at the end of this year. And as Paul said, watch for our email alerts on that rollout or visit our website regularly for the interesting tools like the Toronto Center notes. Copies of this webinar, and a podcast of this webinar will be available, as are others, in particular, our program on building back better and our new series that will start on climate risks.

So thank you everybody for joining us. It was great to see you all. And someday we'll do this in person. Thank you very much and good day, good afternoon, good night and good evening, whatever the may be. Thanks so much. Bye-bye.