In an article published on September 13th in the Wall Street Journal, titled "A 'Vital Voice' on Women in India", Elizabeth Lynch, Manager for WWB's Center for Microfinance Leadership responds:
Alyse Nelson is absolutely right that India presents a mixed story when it comes to gender diversity in leadership. Women's World Banking (WWB), a global network of microfinance institutions, is fortunate to have among its founders some of the most influential women in the field of microfinance in India: Ela Bhatt, Vijayalakshmi Das, Jayshree Vyas. But we are also aware that though the microfinance industry serves an overwhelming majority of female clients worldwide, in India as in other countries around the world the institutions that serve these women microentrepreneurs struggle with achieving gender diversity. WWB has worked closely with microfinance institutions in India and throughout South Asia to understand where gaps or challenges exist for women staff and managers in the organization and to identify where new or modified policies and programs can be introduced.
Gender diversity matters in microfinance. WWB champions gender diversity because we believe that diverse perspectives lead to stronger decisions and healthier, more vibrant organizations. Incorporating women’s voices when designing and delivering microfinance products is particularly important when a majority of clients are women. Equally as important, microfinance clients often speak of the inspiration they derive from seeing powerful women leaders in the organizations that serve them. How best to achieve diversity? The answer lies in leadership and technical skill development of individual, high-potential leaders as well as in organizational transformations to ensure that all women and men work in environments where they can perform, excel and lead.
Elizabeth Lynch, Center for Microfinance Leadership, Women's World Banking
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