Public banks’ female members of the board ended the first meeting with a commitment to further the creation of departments on gender issues and design equally-inclusive institutional policies at work environments through protocols for actions against workplace violence and gender rebalance. At the virtual meeting, women in various leadership positions in public financial institutions addressed financial inclusion and education, and set gender-oriented financial products as strategic priorities to trigger specific measures.
"The meeting was rewarding and it places us at the beginning of a new cycle. It will be easier to comply with our responsibilities in connection with institutional policies on gender and diversity in the financial system by working together, exchanging ideas, opinions, experiences and knowledge," explained Claudia Berger (Member of the Board of the BCRA).
The meeting focused on the discussion of institutional policies on gender and diversity in public banks. Claudia Berger and Betina Stein (BCRA), Delfina Rossi (Banco Ciudad), Laura Isabel Sprovieri (Banco de Corrientes), Adriana Velasco y Carola Pogliano (Banco del Neuquén), Raquel Kismer (BICE), Rosana Castaño (Banco de La Pampa), Cecilia Fernández Bugna (BNA), Juliana Di Tullio (Banco de la Provincia de Buenos Aires), Julia Strada (Grupo Bapro) and Cecilia Nahón (World Bank) took part in the meeting.
It was held on August 3 and was organized by the Promotion of Gender Policies, Respect and Appropriate Workplace Behavior Management Office of the BCRA headed by María Celeste Perosino.
"This meeting is a landmark event. I praise the initiative of calling public banks’ female members of the board to discuss the situation of working women and their low level of access to decision-making positions. This meeting is the starting point of a new phase where patriarchal stereotypes must be changed" highlighted Juliana Di Tullio (Member of the Board of Banco de la Provincia de Buenos Aires).
Julia Strada (Member of the Board of Grupo Bapro) also praised the meeting and stressed its historical importance. "These are unprecedented times not only to the women's movement but also to the domestic financial system. We have never witnessed an event like this. I believe we should work on two fronts to achieve effective compliance. On the one hand, we intend to introduce institutional gender-oriented policies at the level of the board, managements and the rest of the organizational units through training and gender equality activism. On the other, the gender-equality perspective should also be concerned with financial products and, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we should implement gender-oriented policies through innovation and creativity so that women, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) persons can join the financial system in a fairer way."
Cecilia Fernández Bugna, Member of the Board of Banco de la Nación Argentina, reinforced the symbolic value of these meetings by saying: "In a system of prevailing hegemonic masculinity, women in decision-making positions must work together to end with any form of discrimination, by bridging the gender gap within our own banks and boosting financing policies to create a more equitable society."
Another key point is to provide continuity to these meetings and build up a joint agenda on gender and diversity across public banks. The members of the Board reached a consensus about the urgent need to issue debt relief policies and design financial products that enable women, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and enbies to access credit lines under better conditions.
"Evidence suggests that women and enbies are poorer and more vulnerable than men. In the case of women, economic dependence on men often results in situations of extreme violence. In turn, enbies face greater difficulties in accessing the labor market and are forced into prostitution. Financial inclusion and education are highly efficient tools to fight gender violence and discrimination. The future of the productive development of Argentina must include genderqueer persons and tools to ensure their upward social mobility. Argentine society must move towards a more equitable and less discriminatory society," said Betina Stein, Member of the Board of the BCRA.
Delfina Rossi, Member of the Board of Banco de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires, claimed that the importance of the meeting laid on the opportunity to consolidate an agenda of public banks in order to promote economic development with a feminist perspective. It is important to support not only business women but also women head of households that carry out social projects in poor neighborhoods," said Rossi. Furthermore, Adriana Velasco, Vice President of Banco de la Provincia de Neuquén, explained that "creating spaces in the financial system for sharing ideas enables us to build upon common experiences particularly focusing on a sector where we have a leading role. This meeting laid the foundations for collaboration."
Carola Pogliano, Alternate Member of the Board of Banco de la Provincia del Neuquén, highlighted the possibility of consensus. "These work forums allow for the development of policies on equality and gender in an active and coordinated manner taking into account the different realities of each institution."
"These forums boost results and reinforce policies. Particularly in the financial system that has been the core of financialization—where statistics show the existing level of patriarchy—, we have to act on a consensual and coordinated basis to achieve the expected transformation with an impact on a domestic productive project based on social and gender equality," explained Raquel Cecilia Kismer, Member of the Board of Banco de Inversión y Comercio Exterior.
Laura Isabel Sprovieri, Vice President of Banco de Corrientes, insisted on the need to promote inclusion and claimed: "A financial system where everyone is included optimizes the compliance of fiscal and monetary policies. That is, to broaden access to the financial system implies a greater increase of financial services."
Cecilia Nahon, Member of the Board of the World Bank, highlighted the importance of sharing experiences on gender policies in the financial sector, both in Argentina and worldwide, and explained that "it is crucial to develop a comprehensive strategy that promotes equality and inclusion both in financial institutions and in the financial and productive sectors."
Rosana Castaño, Member of the Board of Banco de La Pampa, agreed on the importance of making progress on dissimilarities, and stated that "these meetings are extremely rewarding, particularly taking into account the widely diverse nature of our institutions in terms of size and territorial coverage. In the light of the actions taken, no institution can ignore the importance of addressing diversity and gender issues. This is how we benefit from personal and collective experiences."
August 5, 2020.