Consultant: Special Report and Toolkit on Institutional Gender Diversity and Women Leadership At Alliance for Financial Inclusion

1. Background

The Alliance for Financial Inclusion

The Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) is the world’s leading organization on financial inclusion policy and regulation. Currently, nearly 100 member institutions make up the AFI network including central banks, ministries of finance and other financial policymaking or regulatory institutions from over 85 developing countries and emerging markets. AFI empowers policymakers to increase the access and usage of quality financial services for the underserved through sustainable and inclusive policies and an effective use of digital technologies.

Policies developed and implemented by the members of the Alliance contribute to a range of the Sustainable Development Goals. By setting their own agenda, AFI members harness the power of peer learning to develop practical and tested policy reforms that enhance financial inclusion with strategic support from both public and private sector partners.

AFI has 7 Working Groups (WGs): Consumer Empowerment and Market Conduct Working Group (CEMCWG), Digital Financial Services Working Group (DFSWG), Financial Inclusion Data Working Group (FIDWG), Financial Inclusion Strategy Peer Learning Group (FISPLG), Global Standards Proportionality Working Group (GSPWG), Inclusive Green Finance Working Group (IGFWG) and SME Finance Working Group (SMEFWG).

As the key source of policy developments and trends in financial inclusion and as the primary mechanism for generating and incubating technical content in the network, the Working Groups serve as “communities of practice.” Providing a platform for knowledge exchange and peer learning among policymakers to share, deliberate and deepen their understanding, the working groups offer leadership and expertise in their respective policy fields and support the network to monitor new developments in emerging fields. The WGs are supported by a full range of capacity building courses and events and in-country implementation projects.

The working groups receive strategic guidance and insight from the High-Level Global Standards & Policy Committee, while the Gender Inclusive Finance Committee, supports WGs in integrating gender considerations into all aspects of their work and support members in fulfilling their Denarau Action Plan (2016) commitment to promote women’s financial inclusion.

AFI members have made further commitments in a range of other accords which can be read here.

The AFI’s five regional initiatives support policy implementation in Africa (AfPI), Latin America and the Caribbean (FILAC), the Pacific Islands (PIRI), Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ECAPI) and the Arab Region (FIARI).

2. Project Background

To support the implementation of the actions identified in the 10 point Denarau Action Plan (DAP), in particular Action #10 that states the aim to “drive greater gender diversity within member’s own institution and its initiatives and strategies”, AFI commissioned a Special Report, which was published in April 2018 on “Gender Diversity within AFI Member Institutions” to explore practices, gaps, and progress in institutional gender diversity among selected AFI members, as well as identify barriers that prevent progress in this area. The Special Report was conducted with the help of a survey questionnaire administered among the AFI network and a series of virtual consultations with selected AFI member institutions.

In the same year, AFI and Women’s World Banking partnered to collaborate in developing and delivering a Leadership and Diversity Program for Regulators, aimed at supporting implementation of smart policies to promote gender diversity.1 The nine-month program – jointly run by Women’s World Banking and AFI in partnership with the University of Oxford – supports financial policymakers and regulators in developing policies and regulations that narrow the financial inclusion gender gap and build more gender-diverse teams and leaders within financial institutions.

Since the course started in 2019, 82% of the high potential women who participated reported a greater scope of responsibility since attending the program. Additionally, a number of participants noted that the course was instrumental in the development and implementation of their policy proposals in the face of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, the course facilitated formation of strong bonds among the participants, enabling continued peer learning. Now in its third year running, the leadership program started in April 2021 and is being delivered virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions for a period of 16 weeks.

Despite the commitment of many AFI members and notable progress in accelerating leadership development and gender diversity in their respective jurisdictions, overall progress has been slowed down by many factors, some within the control of AFI members and some outside. The Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum Gender Balance Index 2021 revealed that central banks have not moved the needle on gender diversity in leadership positions. Only 15 central banks around the world are run by a woman. Out of 31 central bank governors who were appointed in 2020, only one was a woman and there are still only 10 percent of Governors who are women.

These developments present an opportunity to AFI to conduct and provide an updated assessment of the current landscape of women’s leadership and gender diversity within AFI member institutions, as well as deepen our understanding on how the landscape for institutional diversity and the women’s leadership pipeline has shifted since the adoption of the Denarau Action Plan. The assessment will also bring together key learnings from the Leadership and Diversity Program for Regulators, and other similar initiatives undertaken in member jurisdictions, to determine areas of success, areas of greatest needs, lessons learned and opportunities for the future. It is envisioned that this assessment would provide practical insights into the persistent barriers and key enabling factors for successful implementation of women’s financial inclusion and institutional gender diversity, as well as strengthen the business case for achieving gender parity in AFI member institutions and beyond.

Building on the aforementioned updated Special Report, AFI will develop a complementary toolkit for “Mainstreaming and Implementing Institutional Gender Diversity and Inclusion Within AFI Member Institutions”. The toolkit will explore key concepts and terminologies relevant to institutional gender diversity and promoting gender inclusive finance policies. It will further unpack the critical role of social norms, cultural stereotypes and power and privilege in organization, and how they influence behaviors and decisions that can perpetuate existing inequalities along gender lines, create imbalances within organizational structures and prevent women from advancing in organizational pipelines. It will also look at the structures and programs that facilitate developing a pipeline for future women’s leadership and increasing institutional diversity. The findings of the Special Report will help inform the development of a toolkit comprising of practical insights and recommendations that AFI can undertake to strengthen institutional gender diversity and build a diverse pipeline of senior women leaders.

Achieving a holistic understanding of the impact of how policies, initiatives, practices and procedures can reinforce existing inequalities and the important levers to overcome them will help guide financial sector policymakers and regulators to implement smart policies to promote and drive institutional diversity and inclusion, and ultimately, gender-sensitive financial inclusion policymaking.

It is envisaged that the toolkit will provide a platform for further engagement with AFI member institutions. This will offer an opportunity to update the toolkit, as more good practices are developed and shared, as well as progress the institutional gender diversity and inclusion agenda in the years to come.

3. Objective

The objective of the project is twofold. The first objective is to identify the current levels of diversity and women’s leadership in member institutions. The key output from this objective will be an update to the Special Report on Gender Diversity within AFI member institutions. Specifically, this part of the project aims to deliver the following:

  • Provide an updated assessment on the progress of gender diversity and women’s leadership within AFI member institutions, with data comparisons from the 2018 Special Report and relevant supplementary and contemporary information on the current landscape. This will include an analysis on institutional gender diversity and women representation at the various leadership levels, including the institutions’ Boards as well as the progress of the institutions’ female leadership pipelines and a scoping review and gap analysis of any internal policies, programs, trainings or (mentoring) schemes that have been developed to support this;
  • Highlight how effectively the three key recommendations from the 2018 Special Report have been implemented by members, and if additional recommendations are now needed. The three recommendations were as follows
  • * Implementation of sensitization and capacity building programs that are aimed at driving gender diversity, and that also demonstrate the positive links between gender diversity and central banks’ initiatives to advance women’s financial inclusion;
    • Development of guidelines for increasing institutional gender diversity, which can be used by policymakers and regulators to measure, design, develop, implement, and monitor gender diversity policies within their institutions;
    • Generation of high-level commitment and advocacy to ensure the creation of the needed level of traction to take the agenda forward through policy action.
  • Discuss key constraints and opportunities for addressing implementation barriers which hinder the implementation of gender diversity and related policies into on-the-ground programs/initiatives;
  • Identify persistent gaps and barriers faced by financial sector regulators and policymakers to promote greater gender diversity within their institutions and the country’s financial sector overall;
  • Highlight best practices, policies and initiatives implemented by AFI member institutions (and other financial industry actors) in promoting institutional gender diversity and female leadership within their institutions and in the financial sector;
  • Identify any capacity building or other training programs that are or have been used or developed by member institutions to support diversity and women’s leadership;
  • Recommend actions and initiatives that can be undertaken by the AFI Network to promote greater institutional gender diversity within member institutions, including in leadership positions;
  • Discuss opportunities and lessons learned from the alumni of the Leadership and Diversity Program for Regulators;
  • Discuss gender roles and stereotypes and the importance of addressing systemic barriers, within a national context, for achieving institutional gender diversity and inclusion.

The second objective is to provide regulators and policy makers with practical tools to increase their institutions diversity and women’s leadership pipeline. The main output related to this objective is to develop a toolkit on institutional gender diversity for financial regulators and policymakers, which will complement the findings from the Special Report and provide more granular level, evidence-based and data driven guidance. Specifically, the toolkit aims to deliver the following:

  • Identify key terms and concepts that are essential in understanding institutional gender diversity and leadership amongst policymakers and regulators;
  • Provide insights on how the following factors can contribute to greater institutional diversity and inclusion:
  • -Leadership buy-in and institutional commitment and target-setting;
    -Mentoring, coaching and sponsorship;
    -Understanding and mitigating unconscious biases and managing behavioral changes;
    -Organizational culture and internal policies and initiatives;
    -Ambassadors, gender focal points; and or gender mainstreaming units;
    -Gender and diversity representation in media and events;
    -Communication, advocacy and use of inclusive language; and
    -Monitoring and reporting mechanisms
  • Showcase practical examples and different approaches from across the membership (and beyond) to help inform application of the recommendations set out in the Special Report;
  • Develop a diagnostic self-assessment tool to help AFI members assess their current practices and policies, identify possible areas for change, roadmap for change, and establish mechanisms to monitor and evaluation progress; and
  • Provide a menu of practical, high-impact policy actions for effectively implementing the recommendations set out in the Special Report.

4. Key Deliverables And Activities

The consultant is expected to undertake the following activities:

  1. Desk research of the existing literature of case studies, reports and publications;
  2. A global stock-take exercise of existing institutional gender diversity and inclusion policies, procedures and practices amongst AFI member institutions and other financial industry actors; and
  3. In-depth consultation with policymakers, regulators, private sector leaders and other industry experts
  4. Two round table discussions with the key stakeholders on the draft recommendations

The consultant is expected to deliver the following:

  1. One (1) Special Report and one (1) Toolkit that will include the objectives stated above, which will be a synthesis of the updated findings and recommended actions and initiatives to be taken forward;
  2. One (1) PowerPoint presentation (PPT) on the key highlights of the Special Report;
  3. One (1) PowerPoint presentation (PPT) on the key highlights of the Toolkit;
  4. One (1) diagnostic self-assessment tool to assess current practices; and
  5. One (1) dataset in Excel format incorporating data captured from desk research and key informant interviews.

5. Timeline

This work would be undertaken between August 2021 to October 2021.

The timelines are summarized in the table below:

Deliverables & Tentative timeline

  1. Undertake desk-based research and submit literature review report (Early August)
  2. Submit outline of the Special Report and Toolkit (Mid August)
  3. Conduct key informant interviews (Mid August)
  4. Develop and submit first draft (Late August)
  5. Review first draft (Early September)
  6. Submit second draft (Mid September)
  7. Review second draft (Late September)
  8. Submit final draft (Early October)

The total envisaged work of the consultant in undertaking these deliverables is envisaged as not more than 48 working days, with all deliverables to be complete by no later than 8th October 2021.

6. Qualification & Consultant Experience

The consultant undertaking this assignment should have the following qualifications:

  • Advanced degree in a field related to Economics, Public Policy, International
  • Development or another related discipline.
  • Minimum 10 years of professional experience with proven competence in gender and development and women’s financial inclusion.
  • Previous experience working with global and national institutions involved in financial inclusion and gender inclusive finance policy and regulation, particularly in developing and emerging countries.
  • Experience leading research engagements that incorporate various methodologies including in-depth interviews, focus group discussions and others
  • Knowledge and experience regarding methodologies and best practices for promoting institutional gender diversity and women’s leadership within financial institutions is desired
  • Fluency in English (oral and writing) is compulsory.
  • Excellent written and presentation skills in the English language.
  • French and Spanish language proficiency is an added advantage.

7. Travel

This consultancy work is home-based work. No travelling is required.

8. Criteria of Evaluation

The proposals submitted will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  1. Academic Qualification; 10%
  2. Experience and technical competence of the key staff for the assignment; 50%
  3. Knowledge and technical expertise of individual research relevant to the assignment; 25%
  4. In gender and development and financial inclusion policy related work; 25%
  5. Adequacy of the proposed work plan and methodology in responding to the Terms of Reference; 35%
  6. Technical approach and methodology; 25**%**
  7. Workplan; 10**%**
  8. Sample work – Writing experience and English; 5%

Total : 100%

How to apply

How to Apply

Interested applicants are expected to submit a proposal with updated CV and using template given (Download the RFP document here) by email to AFI’s Procurement & Contracts Office at by 19th July 2021.

The final decision on selection of a consultant/consulting firm for this project rests with AFI management team and with the Inquiry. Only shortlisted and successful consultants will be contacted

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