Ramallah – Dr. Riyad Abu Shehadah, the Deputy Governor of Palestine Monetary Authority, opened today in Ramallah workshop on “Gender Integration in the Banking Sector of Palestine,” which was held under the auspices of His Excellency Mr. Azzam Shawwa, the Governor of Palestine Monetary Authority. The workshop was organized by UN Women in association with Palestine Monetary Authority, the Association of Banks in Palestine, and the Palestinian Network for Small and Microfinance.
Mr. Nabil Abu Diab, General Director of the Association of Banks in Palestine, Mr. Ala’a Sisalim, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Palestinian Network for Small and Microfinance, UN Women Representative Mrs. Inas Marjeyeh, PMA directors, representatives from women and banking institutions, and lending institutions attended the workshop.
The workshop aimed to address mechanisms of raising awareness of the banking sector with respect to gender integration in general policies and at institutional and organizational levels of the banking sector’s institutions.
Dr. Abu Shehadah said in the opening remarks of the workshop that Palestine Monetary Authority was constantly focused on financial empowerment of women and that the International Banking Conference 2017, which Palestine Monetary Authority had organized under the title of “Financial Empowerment of Women,” concluded with recommendations in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 and addressed developing financial products for women.
Dr. Abu Shehadah said the National Financial Inclusion Strategy in Palestine, which had been launched few days ago, had been prepared to match the Palestinian situation and the field study of the Strategy, especially with respect to women, including women’s financial culture and rates of access and use of financial products in comparison with men, which urged the joint headship of the national and technical committees to address challenges and to work with all stakeholders to ensure the requirements of the work plan of the Strategy including financial empowerment of women and access to banking services.
Dr. Abu Shehadah affirmed the importance of compliance of the institutions that operate in Palestine, especially the banking sector institutions, with equal job opportunities for men and women. According to Dr. Abu Shehadah, 30% of PMA employees are women including at senior positions. “Field studies’ findings and the Credit Information System indicators show low levels of financial culture among women of the study sample reaching 69% for weak and too weak compared to 49% for men. The rate of female borrowers from banks and lending institutions of the overall borrowers is 33% compared to 77% for male borrowers. Women’s share in banking facilities portfolio registered 14% compared to 86% for men. These indicators clearly show that women in Palestine face problems in capacity building and use of financial products and services,” according to Dr. Abu Shehadah.
Dr. Abu Shehadah thanked the UN Women program in Palestine for organizing the workshop that addressed important issues of the Palestinian society, including gender integration in the banking sector, women’s employment rights, and financial empowerment of women.