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CGD in the News

December 10, 2018

Mobile savings helping women (The Citizen)

From the article:
The emergence of digital channels is seen as the best alternative for bridging the gender gap when it comes to accessing financial services, new research shows.
According to the Washington DC-based think tank, Centre for Global Development, their recent research in Tanzania and Indonesia indicated a large and unexplored demand for movile saving platforms, which play a great role, especially for women.
"Mobile savings reduce transaction cost, provide privacy and increase economic self-reliance for women who are good at saving," said a senior fellow with the Centre for Global Development, Ms. Mayra Buvinic, who conducted the research in Tanzania.
Read the full article here.
November 26, 2018

Sexist data crisis makes women’s work invisible (Daily Nation)

By Dorothy Otieno

From the article:

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will not be achieved without closing the gender data gap, said experts at the second UN World Data Forum.

When businesses, governments and other players are armed with data, they are able to improve the everyday decisions they make, yet for women and girls, basic information about their lives is lacking. As a result, their needs are not being prioritised and their contributions are undervalued, according to gender and data experts at the forum held in Dubai. “There is no equality of information on women and girls that is governing policy. Data in all aspects of girls’ and women’s lives is missing or is biased,” says Emily Courey Pryor, executive director of Data2X, an alliance dedicated to improving the quality and use of gender data that is housed at the United Nations Foundation.

An audit by UN Women shows that about a fifth or 53 out of 241 SDGs indicators explicitly refer to sex, gender, women and girls or are largely targeted at women and girls. A less restrictive criterion, where all indicators that are relevant for women and girls and can be disaggregated by sex are included, would yield a greater number of indicators.

But a third of the indicators proposed to track progress on gender issues cannot be generated globally because international standards measuring them do not exist and most countries do not conduct regular surveys on them, says Mayra Buvinic, a senior fellow at Data2X and Centre for Global Development.

Read the full article here


November 16, 2018

How mobile banking has helped women entrepreneurs plan better (IPP Media)

By Henry Mwangonde

From the article:

The study commissioned by the Washington DC-based think-tank Center for Global Development, which covered Tanzania and Indonesia, made comparisons with past days when the women entrepreneurs’ earnings tended to end up in family expenditures, leading to the collapse of their ventures.

It pointed to a large and unexplored demand for mobile saving platforms which play a great role especially for women.

“The emergence of digital channels is seen as the best alternative for closing the gender gap in accessing financial services,” said Mayra Buvinic, a senior fellow at the Center who conducted the research in Tanzania.

It is estimated that over one billion women across the world lack access to financial services due to economic and social barriers, time and mobility constraints, and discrimination.

Read the full article here


August 21, 2018

Crisis In Family Care Demographics, Women Pay The Price (Worldcrunch)

By Megan Clement 

When it comes to care provision, the world faces something of a perfect storm as populations age, family structures shrink and more women enter the workforce. It's a crisis in the making, the International Labour Organization (ILO) warned in a recent report. And unless governments start properly investing in care services, gender inequality will increase and economies will suffer.

The demand for care work is set to increase significantly in the next decade, with 2.3 billion people needing care by 2030, the ILO report concludes in its report released in late June. What remains to be determined is whether this work will be high quality and well remunerated, or low quality and exploitative. The answer to that question, lead author Laura Addati explains, will determine in large part how the crisis plays out. 


Mayra Buvinic, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, says this dynamic applies to the elderly as well, and that the developing world will be affected just as much as the developed.

"In the developing world, you're still under the notion that families will take care of their elderly, but that's not the case anymore in a lot of places," she says. "And then what do you do with your elderly?" 

Read the full article here.

July 27, 2018

How To Find Out If 'Women's Empowerment' Programs Really Empower Women (NPR)

By Nurith Aizenman 

So many aid programs in low-income countries have set "empowering women" as their goal. They don't just want to boost women's incomes and health and education level, but to give them the ability to make their own decisions over those aspects of their lives.

But how do you actually gauge how much control a woman has over her life?

"I don't think it's been more than five or six years since we've been trying to do that. And it's actually very difficult," says Mayra Buvinic. A former director for gender and development at the World Bank, she has helped pioneer a growing effort to measure women's empowerment. 

Read the full article here.

July 9, 2018

How to bring banking to one billion women: interview with Mayra Buvinic, senior fellow at CGD (Development Finance Magazine)

By Jack Aldane

Mayra Buvinic, senior fellow at the Center for Global Development (CGD) and former director for gender and development at the World Bank, spoke to Jack Aldane about her latest research, which underscores what lies in the way of female economic empowerment and what needs to change if the next billion women worldwide are to get access to finance. 

Development Finance Magainze: The development financial institutions (DFIs) of the G7 have pledged US$3 billion in investments towards female economic empowerment. Where should that investment go from what you’ve gathered in recent research?

Mayra Buvinic: Financial constraints constrain all entrepreneurs, but women are more affected by not having access to finance, and to formal finance in particular. Whatever mechanisms to fund women become available now, I think it’s going to be a matter of how you programme those funds and what kinds of institutions are going to be used to channel those funds. The World Bank now has its We-Fi initiative, which targets small and medium-sized enterprises, but the majority of women are still micro. As micro entrepreneurs, they have benefitted from microfinance, but not from the formal sector. These funds from the G7 DFIs should be structured in such a way that they get to women-owned microfinance firms. That’s a bit more difficult, so I’m not sure that that is going to happen. 

Read the full article here.

June 28, 2018

Double Investment in the Care Economy to Avoid Global Crisis – ILO (News Deeply)


By Megan Clement

Changes in family structures and lengthening life expectancies are leading the world towards a care crisis, the International Labour Organization has warned. And it’s women who will lose out the most.

The world is facing a crisis in the provision of care in the coming decades, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has warned. In a new report on the future of the global care economy, the authors state that without proper government investment in care services before 2030, gender inequality will increase and economies will suffer.


Much of the looming care conundrum is due to the changing structure of families worldwide. While in the past, the burden of unpaid care work has been split across extended families, the rise of nuclear families and single-parent households has intensified the responsibilities that fall to primary caregivers, who, more often than not, are women. There are 300 million single parents leading households worldwide, and 78 percent of them are women. 

“This idea of the traditional role of extended families helping out with child care – it’s not the norm any more,” Addati says.

Mayra Buvinic, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development, says this dynamic applies to the elderly as well, and that the developing world will be affected just as much as the developed.

“In the developing world you’re still under the notion that families will take care of their elderly, but they’re not any more, in a lot of places,” she says. “And then what do you do with your elderly?

​Read the full article here.

June 5, 2018

Optics not in Trudeau's favor ahead of G7 in Charlevoix, Que. (The Star)

The “blue economy.”

The terminology still hasn’t gained much traction in these parts, but if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has his way, an outreach session on the sustainable economic future of oceans and coastal lands scheduled as part of this weekend’s G7 meeting in Charlevoix, Que., will change that.


Then there’s gender, a talking point consistently emphasized by Trudeau since before taking office. What great accomplishments can he claim on this front beyond the representation of women in cabinet?

Mayra Buvinic, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development in Washington as well as at Data2X, commends Trudeau for “taking the lead and showing the way.” And no question the G7 gathering is a high-profile forum. “Now we have the right rhetoric, but in order to put the rhetoric into practise, in order to advance things, measure progress, evaluate progress, know what kind of interventions, we need to scale up, we need resources,” Buvinic says.

Read the full article here.


May 24, 2018

There Are 1 Billion Unbanked Women In The World. This Mobile Initiative Could Transform Their Lives (Forbes)

From the article:

Rose Kibona sells prepared food and drinks to passers-by from a small stall at the bustling local market in her hometown of Mbeya, Tanzania. At the end of each work day, she put her earnings into various savings accounts -- which, in her case, were jars, bags and a locked chest hidden away in her bedroom -- each one for a different purpose.
“This is how she saved,” says Mayra Buvinic, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development (CGD) and researcher for She Counts.
She Counts is an international effort launched this March to support unbanked women micro-entrepreneurs like Kibona by giving them mobile savings accounts. It’s a collaboration between the CGD, Women’s World Banking (WWB) and the ExxonMobil Foundation to reach more than 1 billion women worldwide who lack easy access to banking services.
The organization also aims to push financial institutions to serve more of these women. “Traditional social norms [around the world] often further restrict women’s access to productive resources and services, with negative economic consequences,” She Counts says in a recent report.

Read the full article here

March 23, 2018

Women Want To Save, And Saving Means Success For Microentrepreneurs (News Deeply)

From the article:

“Most people assume banking services are gender neutral, and they’re just not.” That’s how Mayra Buvinic, Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development, explains the results of a new study that looks at financial inclusion for women entrepreneurs in the developing world.
The study is the result of a two-year project examining how women microentrepreneurs were able to improve cash flow and grow their business when they were given access to mobile savings tools and business training.
Analyzing 13 separate studies from different countries worldwide, the authors found that interest in savings accounts was much higher among women than men: 63 percent of women would want to open a basic savings account, compared with only 26 percent of men.

Read the full article here.