WASHINGTON, March 6, 2023 – The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) of the World Bank Group will present its 2023 Gender Leadership Award to Claudia María González Arteaga, Chief Financial Officer at Colombia’s Business Development Bank (Bancóldex), at an event on March 8, International Women’s Day.
For the last eight years, MIGA has been recognizing leaders who have a proven track record of seeking to further the causes of women’s advancement and gender equality in businesses throughout the world. With their work, these managers have made substantial contributions to the World Bank Group’s goals.
This year’s honoree has over 15 years’ experience in the banking industry in Colombia, with a history of leadership in an industry where women still make up just 18 percent of all C-suite roles, according to the 2022 Gender Balance Index. Even when women are in leadership positions and on executive committees, they are over twice as likely to have internal and administrative roles as their male counterparts. In her role as Chief Financial Officer at Bancóldex, Ms. González is in a strong position to influence how the bank serves its customers.
Women’s representation in business-facing roles in the banking industry is especially important given the $1.7 trillion dollar finance gap identified by the World Bank that exists for women-owned small and medium enterprises. According to the International Monetary Fund, improving gender diversity at the leadership level helps banks operate with a broader understanding of its customers, enabling them to develop products and services to facilitate access to financial resources to close the worldwide gap that exists for women.
“During her banking career, Claudia González has supported Bancóldex’s operations in addressing gender disparities and supporting women-owned businesses in Colombia,” said Hiroshi Matano, MIGA Executive Vice President. “Most recently, her involvement in the development of a gender action plan as part of a MIGA-supported project will further improve access to financial products and services for women-owned micro, small, and medium enterprises as economic development is promoted for the entire country.”
The gender action plan, developed in conjunction with the MIGA gender team, calls for improved access to finance for women owned MSMEs. The plan includes the deployment of new financial and non-financial products and services to address the financial challenges experienced by women entrepreneurs. In addition, the staff of Bancóldex and its partner financial intermediaries will receive gender training. Ms. González’s participation in the development of this action plan demonstrates her leadership efforts and commitment to ensure that Bancóldex’s operations enhance gender equality and strengthen women-owned businesses.
“Bancóldex's commitment to gender equality will continue to strengthen as one of the main pillars to build a sustainable operation in the coming years. We are motivated to continue supporting women entrepreneurs in partnership with MIGA to close gaps and generate opportunities for entrepreneurship and growth in our country,” Ms. González said.
Ms. González also has promoted the development of the Bancóldex Gender Policy, which seeks to adopt the gender approach in internal processes, products and services, risk analysis, monitoring, and evaluation of initiatives. This policy has established Bancóldex as a government agent committed to inclusive business development. As a senior bank leader, she has built an impressive team of professionals, which includes several women to whom she is a mentor and role model.
Another important example of Ms. González’s leadership in action is the structuring and issuance of Bancóldex’s social bonds. The bonds were issued to support employment opportunities, strengthen gender equality, reduce the wage gap between men and women, and improve credit opportunities for small businesses owned by vulnerable populations. These bonds had a substantive impact benefitting women, rural workers, and victims of Colombia’s armed conflict. Undoubtedly, Ms. González’s professional endeavor has improved the quality of life for women and promoted economic development in Colombia, making her a worthy recipient of MIGA’s 2023 Gender Leadership Award.
The event will be live-streamed at https://live.worldbank.org/events/miga-gender-leadership-award-innovation-female-entrepreneurship
MIGA was created in 1988 as a member of the World Bank Group to promote foreign direct investment in emerging economies by helping to mitigate the risks of restrictions on currency conversion and transfer, breach of contract by governments, expropriation, and war and civil disturbance; and offering credit enhancement to private investors and lenders.
Since its creation, MIGA has issued nearly $70 billion in guarantees across 122 developing countries in support of nearly 1,000 projects.
Bancóldex is Colombia’s business development bank that promotes the productivity and competitiveness of local companies with a sustainable approach. The bank focuses on structuring financial and non-financial products with the participation of public, private international, national, and territorial actors.
Elizabeth Howton, (202) 458-5922, firstname.lastname@example.org
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