Dr. Maher Al-Mahrouq opened the first dialogue meeting which came under the title “Empowering Women in Learning the Basics of Banking Skills – General and Practical Benefits” organized by the Union of Arab Banks in Amman on Tuesday 22/2/2022 during which the “Arab Women Empowerment Authority” was launched.

Dr. Al-Mahrouq indicated that this dialogue meeting constitutes an exceptional opportunity to touch upon empowering Arab women by providing them with basic banking knowledge and skills to increase women’s access to financial services. He touched on the issues of the gender gap and women’s participation in the economy noting that full integration of women would add $12 trillion to the global GDP and that closing the gender gap could increase GDP in the Middle East and North Africa by 47%.

Dr. Al-Mahrouq pointed to the low rate of working women’s participation in the labor force, the high unemployment rate among women in addition to the low number of women entrepreneurs. He referred to the Jordanian banking sector important role in women’s economic empowerment as women working in banks constitutes about 35% of the total number of employees; a relatively high percentage when compared to economic participation rate which does not exceed 15%. He added that women are one of the bank’s main customer segments and that such banks provide services, products and programs directed to women which include financing programs, loans, credit cards, and savings products. The banking sector also contributes to supporting government strategies and decisions related to women’s work to create a stimulating and encouraging work environment.

Dr. Al-Mahrouq stated that the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion in Jordan aims at increasing women’s financial inclusion through enlarging women’s access to finance by increasing their financial awareness and multiplying the number of women who own bank accounts as well as increasing their access to digital financial services through raising financial and administrative capabilities. He stressed the importance of building partnerships with women’s empowerment organizations adding that the strategy managed to reduce the gender gap from 53% to 29% besides increasing access to financial services from 33.1% to 55%.

Dr. Al-Mahrouq pointed out to the association’s role in women economic empowerment as the association participated in various local and international events aimed at promoting women in this regard. He said that the association publishes bank related gender data and indicators, and it had signed several cooperation agreements to facilitate women’s participation in boards of directors and senior management and to prepare joint studies on businesswomen and women’s lending practices by Jordanian banks in addition to the signing of an agreement with the International Labor Organization aimed at empowering women through financial inclusion, leadership and education.

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