MARY ELLEN Iskenderian

A leading voice for women's leadership in financial services and a passionate advocate for the global advancement of women's access finance. She shines a light on the world's one billion women that are not actively engaged with the financial sector, urging the banking industry to view this community as a powerful new market of small business owners, heads of households, and consumers of financial products and services.


Her drive to create a more equitable world was born on the streets of Istanbul. During visits to the hometown of her father’s family, Mary Ellen witnessed scenes that eventually changed the direction of her career in banking.

“I would see children playing on the street. They weren’t at school, they looked hungry, they were begging. I made a decision that I didn't want to be a person who just walked by and looked the other way. So it seemed very natural to come to an NGO, Women’s World Banking that was so focused on financial services for women.”

There's Nothing Micro About a Billion Women: Making Finance Work for Women


There's Nothing Micro About a Billion Women:

Making Finance Work for Women


Nearly one billion women have been completely excluded from the formal financial system.

Without even a bank account in their own names, they lack the basic services that most of us take for granted—secure ways to save money, pay bills, and get credit. Exclusion from the formal financial system means they are economic outsiders, unable to benefit from, or contribute to, economic growth. Microfinance has been hailed as an economic lifeline for women in developing countries—but, as Mary Ellen Iskenderian shows in this book, it takes more than microloans to empower women and promote sustainable, inclusive economic growth.

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