Financial Inclusion Forum Events

We aim to host around ten events each year covering a variety of different topics within the financial inclusion domain. For accessibility the majority of our events are hosted in central London where we are often sponsored by large firms operating within the space.

Building Resilience for Women: Bridging the Gender Financial Inclusion Gap

 Registration Closed
Free Events
26 Sep 2018 18:30 - 20:00
CDC, 123 Victoria St, Westminster, London SW1E 6DE - 123 Victoria St, Westminster, London SW1E 6DE, UK
United Kingdom


Building Resilience for Women:

Bridging the Gender Financial Inclusion Gap

A discussion with Maria Largey (CDC), Isabelle Nowak (VisionFund) and Susan Forester (Global Parametrics),

moderated by Adrienne Klasa (fDi and The Banker).

To be held on Wednesday, September 26, 2018, 6.30-8pm

At CDC, 123 Victoria St, Westminster, London SW1E 6DE 


Globally, women are more likely to experience poverty, and to have less socioeconomic power than men. Considering the strong linkages between poverty and vulnerability, this makes it difficult for women to recover from external shocks and disasters that affect infrastructure, businesses, jobs and housing. In addition, women are not involved in the decision making process about responses to resilience, so funding ends up going to non-gender sensitive responses.

In that context, tools aiming to promote resilience and productivity such as disaster risk financing tools should be gender-sensitive but there is still a long way to go.

The panel discussion will endeavour to answer the following questions:


  1. Why do women often experience external shocks uniquely and differently to men?
  2. Focusing on specific situations, for example events linked to climate change, what tools can be implemented early to protect women from these as they unfold?
  3. How can Disaster Risk Financing (DRF) be helpful to make women resilient, more competitive and empowered?
  4. What tools are working to build financial resilience amongst women?


Our speakers:


  • Maria Largey: Director and Head of Financial Institutions, Equity. Maria is the Head of the Financial Institutions sector team at CDC and is responsible for the equity FI portfolio across Africa and Asia. Prior to joining CDC in 2012, she worked in the microfinance sector at both Agora Microfinance Partners and Opportunity International. Before joining the development finance sector, Maria worked at JPMorgan in both London and New York where she was responsible for creating investment solutions for asset management clients. Maria holds a BSc in Biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.


  • Isabelle Nowak: Isabelle Nowak is the Capital Markets Director of VisionFund International, the microfinance subsidiary of World Vision International, a global humanitarian aid, advocacy and economic development organization. With a loan portfolio of $650 million, VisionFund helps more than 1.2 million low-income clients access basic financial services through its network of 30 microfinance institutions located in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. 

    Isabelle is responsible for commercial fundraising for both VisionFund’s own balance sheet and for its microfinance institutions globally. She also maintains VisionFund’s funding relationships with a broad range of development, impact and philanthropic investors. Isabelle is the Innovation Lead within the Finance function at VisionFund and was closely involved in structuring and setting up the African and Asian Resilience in Disaster Insurance Scheme (ARDIS), launched in January 2018 and thought to be the world’s largest non-governmental climate insurance programme. 

    Prior to joining VisionFund, Isabelle worked in equity research and sales, capital markets and client strategy with Credit Suisse, UBS, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley. She chairs the Board of PEER UK, an independent arts charity in London’s East End. 

    Isabelle holds Masters degrees in Economics and Art History, from Cologne University and the University of Glasgow, respectively. She grew up bilingual German/French and speaks Spanish.

  • Susan Forester: Global Parametrics’ COO is Susan Forester, who has worked for more than 20 years in the finance sector with leading firms such as Salomon Smith Barney, the NASDAQ, and Lehman Brothers.
    Most recently having been employed by CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution (DFI), in a strategic planning and operational management role, Susan joined Global Parametrics in October 2016. Very early in the life of
    the company, she took a lead role in building out the corporate functions, including finance, people management, corporate governance and stakeholder engagement.
    Following the establishment of the Natural Disaster Fund in January 2018, which is managed by GP, Susan has worked to familiarise the DFI, climate finance and impact investment community with natural disaster protection products.
    Susan has a Master’s of International Political Economy from the Norman Patterson School of International Affairs in Ottawa and an MSc in Finance and Finance Law from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of


Moderated by Adrienne Klasa: is Development Finance Editor of fDi Magazine and The Banker at the Financial Times Group. She focuses on innovative ways business and investment can galvanize social and economic development in the world’s most challenging markets. Previously she was Editor of This is Africa, the Financial Times’ flagship Africa publication. In this role she wrote, edited and commissioned coverage across Africa’s 54 markets on business, politics and economics. She has traveled to and reported from over 20 countries in Africa - as well as further afield in the likes of Singapore, the US, various EU countries and Peru - and covered major international summits including the UN general assembly, World Bank annual meetings and the World Economic Forum. Her writing has also appeared in the Financial Times, the Guardian, Forbes, Slate and Foreign Policy, among others. She speaks and moderates at events worldwide and appears as a commentator on radio, podcasts and broadcast news. Media appearances include various Financial Times platforms, Al Jazeera English, Radio France International, the Danish Broadcasting Corporation and Radio Nacional de Espana. Past speaking engagements include the OECD, International Trade Centre, London Business School, Financial Times summits, Business Council for Africa, Moody’s Investor Services, Invest Africa and various UN agencies. Before joining the FT, she was an editorial researcher at Foreign Policy magazine and worked for the Clinton Foundation’s foreign policy team as an intern. She is fluent in French and English. She is a 2017 FPI Fellow for women in foreign policy and holds two first class degrees in political science: a Bachelors from McGill University and a Masters from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.


We hope you can join this event and enjoy what we hope will be a lively and informative discussion. 
To confirm your attendance, please RSVP.

With many thanks and regards,

The Financial Inclusion Team




All Dates

  • 26 Sep 2018 18:30 - 20:00


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