Women’s Empowerment: One of FINCA’s Core Commitments

Women’s empowerment is at the core of FINCA’s mission to alleviate poverty. By elevating opportunities for women, designing products specifically for women, and partnering with organizations focused on women’s equality, FINCA is empowering women globally.

What is Women’s Empowerment?

Empowerment means to have agency over one’s life and equal opportunity to participate in society. Women’s empowerment, or female empowerment, is the process by which women gain influence and equal opportunity to pursue personal, social and economic endeavors, engaging in all parts of society on the same basis as men.

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women around the world are unbanked, without access to a formal banking institution

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of the world’s illiterate population are women

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women worldwide are legally restricted from having the same choice of jobs as men

How To Empower Women

Poverty greatly limits women’s empowerment. In general, the poorer a person is the less access they have to jobs, resources, political participation and much more. Around the world, poverty disproportionately affects young women and girls. Helping them move out of poverty is an incredibly effective way to achieve female empowerment.

In addition, in many low-income countries, discriminatory laws and intertwined social practices limit a woman’s rights. She may not be able to own property, open a bank account, receive education, start a business and more. Encouraging society to reexamine these laws and norms also can empower women.

Empowering Women Through Financial Inclusion

Women constitute the majority of the world’s 1.7 billion unbanked adults. Despite having multiple roles in society—as consumers, employees, business owners, mothers and caretakers, a woman’s chance of receiving credit is lower than it is for a man. Women also are less likely to have a formal saving account or insurance. One way to empower women is to increase their access to the essential financial services that they lack.

Understanding that women have differing needs and perspectives than men, FINCA’s global microfinance network designs products specifically for women. Rigorous and highly detailed research underlies the product that FINCA develops. Listening to what individual women need and want from a financial institution ensures that FINCA’s products best meet those needs.

Empowering Women Through Access to Life-Enhancing Products

Around the world, women lack access to basic necessities—reliable electricity, safe drinking water, quality education, accessible and affordable health care and much more. To address these problems, FINCA partners with innovative social enterprises developing effective and sustainable models to bring life-enhancing products and services to the women who need them most. FINCA also focuses on identifying partner companies founded or co-founded by women, as addressing problems faced by women benefits enormously from their participation in finding a solution.


YYTZ is a FINCA partner working to increase the incomes of small cashew farmers in Tanzania, many of whom are women. The social enterprise invests in processing equipment at the community level and develops partnerships with retailers that cut out the middle men who take profits from farmers. As a result, YYTZ can pay a 50 percent premium to the thousands of small farmers and women’s groups from which it sources.

Female Empowerment and FINCA

Marlen Yohana Zuniga Perez on her farm

At FINCA, we recognize the importance of women empowerment in our mission to alleviate poverty. We understand that when women have access to financial services and life-enhancing goods, the benefits not only flow to the women who receive them but also to their families and communities. When women are empowered to fully participate in society, to work and to create their own businesses—through access to finance, education and jobs—families improve their quality of life.

It has been proven time after time that increasing the incomes of poor mothers results in an almost immediate improvement in their children’s diet, and an increased likelihood that they can send their children to school. And when a child is educated, he or she has better opportunities to live outside of poverty.

John Hatch, Founder, FINCA

FINCA also is committed to putting women in positions of leadership. Since 2016, Andrée Simon has led FINCA’s global microfinance operations. And Andrée is ensuring that FINCA raises the profile of other female leaders and promotes diversity and inclusion across its global network.

Marlen Yohana Zuniga Perez on her farm

Stories of Resilience

A Commitment to Women

The empowerment of women is one of FINCA’s core commitments and is part of our vision for the future. We are dedicated to providing life-enhancing products and services to women in underserved markets globally. And we deploy our research and data science team to measure progress in helping our clients achieve their aspirations. Learn more about how our programs are making a difference in individual women’s lives.