Publish Date: Nov 14, 2018

The GBA’s Annual Summit is the flagship event for the Global Banking Alliance. With the presence of bankers, policymakers, multilateral and bilateral representatives, academics, and other stakeholders, the GBA Summit is the seminal and most comprehensive event for women’s financial inclusion in the world. The 2018 GBA Summit was held November 13-15 in Jordan, hosted by Bank al Etihad. 

The second day of the summit focused on the customer and the day concluded with an enlightening panel on creating advertising campaigns that truly speak to women. Gender stereotypes in advertising are a problem for both men and women, and there is a clear impact on the bottom line when organizations actively un-stereotype their ads. Ziad Fariz, Jordan Representative at UN Women, shared research from the Unstereotype Alliance showing that 64 % of consumer spending is controlled by women, and brands that deliver progressive messages – including those that present women in an “un-stereotyped” way – have extremely positive responses to their ads and returns.

Head of Brand Management at BLC Bank Karyl Akilian shared several inspiring campaigns from the bank that are actively combating stereotypes about women in Lebanon. Apart from having strong results for the bank’s Women’s Market program, these campaigns have actually begun to lead to some cultural shifts in the country. Raya Sbitany, Chief Business Development and Financial Inclusion Officer at Bank of Palestine, discussed a similar experience of seeing the beginnings of a culture shift from the bank’s work to change the Arabic language to be more inclusive of women. In Arabic, most job titles are only expressed in the masculine form – the only job titles that are feminine are those for roles that are traditionally considered “feminine.” The bank worked with an Arabic language institute in Cairo, which formally approved their changing the titles for women at their own institution to a feminine form. Bank of Palestine is now lobbying for this to be done across the entire language, and they have seen extremely strong results from their marketing campaign associated with this – from both women and men. Virgínia Gonçalves, Sustainability Coordinator at Itaú Unibanco, the biggest brand in Brazil, shared some examples of their process for creating un-stereotyped campaigns – as well as some missteps they have had. The lessons from their experiences were that consistency, diversity and testing are all critical elements of successful advertising. Finally, Danysh Hashmi, General Manager – Retail Product Group at HBL Pakistan, shared how they make sure that they include both women and men in their ads, regardless of the product, with women represented in many primary roles in the campaigns. They also seek to create role models for women in Pakistan by highlighting the experiences of outstanding Pakistani women who the bank supports.