This year’s International Women’s Day theme was #BreakTheBias. FINCA Canada commemorated with a month of activities to raise awareness about the importance of financially empowering women, especially those in developing countries. The celebrations ended with FINCA’s 7th Annual International Women’s Day event – an expert panel discussion that focused on lessening the impact of COVID-19 on women entrepreneurs and building a future economy that embraces financial inclusion for women.
For the second year, FINCA Canada partnered with Centennial College’s corporate communications public relations (CCPR) students to present a #WhyWomenWednesday social media campaign as well as the 2022 edition of the FINCA Canada’s #empowHER podcast series.
The #WhyWomenWednesday Social Media Campaign
The social media campaign featured four resilient women—FINCA clients in Haiti and DR Congo who run successful businesses in underserved communities amidst systemic and cultural biases, worsened by the ongoing pandemic.
- Week one featured Rose Syncia JB Rosseau and her entrepreneurial journey as a mom in Haiti trying to make ends meet with a vision to provide for her family and community for generations to come.
- Week two featured Charlotte Assumani and her story of creating a restaurant and clothing business in Kinasha, DRC, so she could afford to send her daughter to school.
- Week three featured Nene Pongo Nzila who utilized FINCA’s JUSTpourElle (Just for Her) loan to help her balance her triple burden of household work, supporting her community as well as a job.
- Week four featured Eugenie Kabeya who pivoted her seamstress business in the DRC from sewing clothing to sewing masks so she could keep business going during the pandemic.
The 2022 #empowHER Podcast Series
This year’s podcast series dove into the extreme levels of biases that women in the Global South encounter each day. There were 4 episodes featuring esteemed guests:
- The introductory episode featured highlights from 2021—Drew Boshell, the Executive Director of FINCA Canada discussed the organization’s mission, goals, and campaign to prevent more than 120,000 women in Haiti and DR Congo from sliding back into poverty due to the impacts of COVID-19.
- Episode 2—How Education is Breaking the Bias featured Marc Epprecht, professor of History and Global Development Studies at Queen’s University. The discussion covered the importance of providing proper education to women, the impacts that occur when a girl is denied their right to an education and how FINCA is breaking the bias surrounding gender and education.
- Episode 3—The Triple Burden on Women featured Mirela Pekmezi, Deputy CEO of FINCA DRC. Mirela explored the impact the triple burden—(work within the family household, supporting initiatives in the community and juggling a job) has on women and how FINCA is helping to make a more equitable economic environment for women.
- Episode 4— COVID-19 and Its Impact on Gender Equity featured Sally Yacoub, Gender Advisor for FINCA Canada. Sally examined the impact of COVID-19 on women in the Global South, the suspected longer-term effects the pandemic will have on gender inequalities and what FINCA has put in place to help mitigate the risks COVID-19 holds.
The Expert Panel Discussion
The virtual panel discussion—Rebuilding Women’s Financial Health Post COVID was a joint event hosted by FINCA Impact Finance and FINCA International. The event featured several experts in financial health and services, who explored ways to reduce the impact of significant, external shocks on women entrepreneurs and the institutions that serve them. They stressed the importance of building a future economy that embraces financial inclusion for women.
The moderator was Andrée Simon, President, and CEO, of FINCA Impact Finance. Other panellists included:
- Greta Bull, Director, Women’s Economic Empowerment, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Mamie Kalonda, CEO, FINCA DRC
- Leora Klapper, Lead Economist, World Bank
- Scott Graham, VP of Research and Data Science, FINCA International
- Sonja Kelley, Director of Research and Advocacy, Women’s World Banking