Strategies for commercial banks and commercial MFIs
Many of these strategies cost little, such as recruitment, promotion, and sexual harassment policies.
Mainstream banks are sometimes way ahead of nongovernmental organizations in implementing staff gender policies (examples include Barclays in Kenya – dating back to the 1980s – and Khushali Bank in Pakistan). Commercial banks increasingly have gender or equal opportunity policies to encourage and retain skilled female staff. Some offer childcare facilities and have implemented proactive promotion policies for female staff to attain greater diversity in the organization and better develop new market niches.
The promotion of diversity, of which gender is one dimension, is a key element of best business practice in the West. In many social settings, increasing the number of female staff is essential to increasing the numbers of female clients.
Although a gender policy may entail some costs (for parental leave, better transport for female staff to increase security for example), the cost is likely to be compensated by higher levels of staff commitment, efficiency and retention. Unhappy and harassed staff members are inefficient and change jobs frequently, and training new staff is costly.
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strategies for ngos and social mfis
For NGOs and social MFIs there are other further possibilities which would increase their contribution to gender transormation as part of an inclusive financial sector.
- Nonfinancial services focusing on women's empowerment and gender transformation
- Building on group organisation for collective action to support women's rights and bring men into the process of change
- Engaging in gender advocacy with other organisations in the sector.
There is however a need for gender assessment even in women-only NGOs and MFIs. And a need to look at strategies not only for working with women, but also working with men.
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