Dalberg, IDI, and LightCastle Consortium to Conduct a Study on the Status of Women in the Banking Sector Across South Asia

LightCastle Editorial Wing
February 22, 2023
Dalberg, IDI, and LightCastle Consortium to Conduct a Study on the Status of Women in the Banking Sector Across South Asia

Dalberg, IDI, and LightCastle consortium will collaborate on a study commissioned by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), focusing on developing evidence on women’s participation in the banking sector across four countries — Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. 

The Opportunity

In South Asia, women’s participation in the labor force is 23.6%, which is one of the lowest in the world.  Despite all the advances, women are still under-represented in formal sectors as they face barriers such as pay disparity, gender bias, and societal pressures, among others.

The Global Gender Gap Report 2022 indicates that the gender gap in economic participation and opportunity in South Asia is the worst among all the regions. Female leadership in the private sector is also significantly low with only 11% of the companies being headed by women.  

Compared to the male labor force participation rate of 78.8% in Bangladesh, the female participation rate is only 34.9%. It is more challenging for women to have a steady career progression toward top managerial positions.

Only 4.8% of the firms in Bangladesh have women in top management roles and 1.7% of the firms have majority ownership by women. Particularly, in the banking sector, only 16.3% of the employees are women.

Based on the findings of the study, IFC aims to support its partners in the banking sector across the South Asia region to close gender gaps and promote an improved gender balance in leadership roles.

Our Intervention

The regional research initiative will primarily focus on understanding the challenges and experiences of female bank employees in the aforementioned four countries. In collaboration with IDI and Dalberg, LightCastle Partners will implement the research activities in Bangladesh and help assess the status of the female workforce in the banking sector.

A dedicated team of experts from LightCastle will work on identifying systemic challenges, opportunities, and enablers for women’s participation and progression in banks through surveys, expert and stakeholder consultations, and focus group discussions (FGDs).

The Future

An evidence-based understanding of the existing gender gap in the banking industry in South Asia will lay the foundation to promote systemic changes for fostering women’s leadership in banks.

The study findings could potentially provide a direction to the policymakers and the leaders of the banking sector in South Asia on developing policies, practices, and infrastructures that support women’s entry and career growth in banks and other financial institutions.

The rise in female leadership within the financial system can lead to creating better opportunities for more inclusive and effective economic empowerment of women in other sectors.

WRITTEN BY: LightCastle Editorial Wing

For further clarifications, contact here: [email protected]

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