Video: Improving Women's Access to Finance for a Post-COVID Recovery

Colombia’s vice president, Citi’s Honduras CEO, and LAVCA’s executive advisor talk about ways to promote women's financial inclusion in the region.


  • Marta Lucía Ramírez, Vice President of Colombia
  • Reina Irene Mejía, CEO of Citi Honduras
  • Susana García-Robles, Executive Advisor to the Association for Private Capital Investment in Latin America (LAVCA)
  • Roberto Simon, Senior Director for Policy, AS/COA @robertosimon (moderator)

Nearly half of Latin American women lack a bank account, let alone access to credit for small businesses. With this in mind, experts came together in an AS/COA panel to discuss how to overcome the region’s barriers to financial inclusion for women. Colombian Vice President Marta Lucía Ramírez recognized that women face steep structural and cultural hurdles, saying, “Unpaid care work has been exacerbated during the COVID crisis further jeopardizing women’s economic empowerment and employment," and that the pandemic has further jeopardized women’s access to finance. She shared the Colombian government’s efforts to promote women entrepreneurs through direct technical assistance.

Head of Citi Honduras Reina Irene Mejía highlighted that the region has the highest percentage of women in small businesses but only 30 percent of these women get access to credit due to high collateral and guarantee requirements, noting that: “The average loan for a female entrepreneur is 40 percent less than what a man receives due to unconscious gender bias.” She also discussed that working on unconscious gender bias will be crucial to shifting these numbers. Private capital investor Susana García-Robles spoke about a new awareness in the venture capital field abbout the importance of investing in women entrepreneurs and known groups building a culture to support women, like We Invest. “Research shows that if you ignore half of the population in the world you are going to lose and miss out," said García-Robles.