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Disaggregated Data and Equal Representation – Inés Páez (Superintendencia de Bancos de la República Dominicana)

For the month of March, in honor of International Women’s Day, the Cambridge SupTech Lab will be featuring inspiring leaders of women in finance and financial supervision. We asked them questions about financial inclusion, career advice, and what disaggregated data specific to gender can show to help fix gender gaps and improve access within financial systems. Our next leader is Inés Páez, Subdirector, Superintendencia de Bancos de la República Dominicana.

Q: How do advancements in suptech create more opportunities for women to receive fair treatment, equitable and non-discriminatory access to the financial system? 

A: The analysis of data and the tools that supervisors can develop offer valuable insights for crafting public policies that foster women’s access to credit and support women-led enterprises. It is imperative for supervisors to advocate for disaggregated gender data from supervisees, ensuring its timely and high-quality submission. This data transparency is essential for informed decision-making in public policy formulation and the development of products and services tailored to the needs of women.

Q: What is the role of financial authorities, and in particular financial supervisors, to further advance financial inclusion, non-discrimination and equal opportunities of women in global economies?

A: Locally, we have conducted gender-disaggregated data exercises revealing that women exhibit lower financial delinquency levels (1.41% female vs. 2.04% male) and slightly lower credit risks (2%) compared to men. Such insights, made possible by disaggregated data, underscore the necessity for gender equality policies within financial entities. Without managing these indicators, women’s access to credit could be inadvertently disadvantaged. Moreover, this data enables the identification of gender gaps across various financial products, including deposits and credits.

Q: Why is it important to drive women’s equal representation and inclusion at all levels of the global financial system?

A: Traditionally, the financial system has been male dominated. However, achieving gender equity at all levels could offer fresh perspectives and considerations previously overlooked in decision-making processes. This equity is crucial not only for high-level decision-making but also for the effective design of financial products and services aimed at reaching underserved populations or tapping into high-potential market niches. Additionally, it helps in pinpointing barriers faced by women, warranting targeted interventions.

Q: Who was your career role model, and why?

A: I come from the telecommunications sector, but within the financial industry, I’ve been fortunate to encounter two outstanding women who have served as inspirations to me. Yulianna Ramón, former director of the “User Assistance and Protection Office” for two years, now assumes the pivotal role of my immediate supervisor as the Deputy Manager of Regulation and Innovation within the Superintendency of Banks. Yulianna embodies effective leadership, not only advocating for the protection of financial users but also skillfully leading teams towards progress in regulatory updates while championing for women’s empowerment within the sector.

Q: Is there a female leader currently working in financial supervision or central banking to create greater gender equity that you admire?

A: Another beacon of inspiration is Fabiola Herrera, who has held the position of Innovation and Systems Deputy Manager at the Central Bank for over a decade. Fabiola has been instrumental in driving sectoral advancements and fostering inter-institutional collaboration, achieving important milestones in the financial innovation landscape.

Q: How can women in central banking and financial supervision identify opportunities to be mentored, and to mentor someone else? 

A: Being a mentor or identifying a mentor is not always easy, or something you intentionally set out to do. But it does help to ease the path. I think it is a good resource on a professional level to be able to identify someone to turn to when we need guidance or those words of support that give us that push to continue, that is why developing a good network is important to generate the necessary dynamics and identify with whom we do chemistry. or who inspires us professionally. In my case, I try to push my supervisees towards the next level, empower them and give them the tools and skills to shine with their own light. I firmly believe that it is the duty of leaders to nurture and cultivate the next generation of leaders.

Q: What career advice were you given that you will never forget?

A: Women have the same rights to sit at the table and voice our opinion as men. We must prepare ourselves in a timely manner to be able to engage in decision-making and contribute our perspectives to the discussions; it is the only way to achieve a truly balanced world and sustainable harmony.

Q: What inspires you about working towards greater gender equity and financial inclusion through your role in financial supervision and central banking?

A: While the gender gap in financial inclusion in the Dominican Republic may not reach double digits (~5%), my participation in diverse forums alongside supervisors and regulators from various markets and regions has provided me with a fresh perspective. It motivates me to advocate for gender equality to be systematically integrated into all our local initiatives and endeavors. It’s crucial for us to consistently bear in mind that women in developing countries and economies often face additional challenges due to their heightened domestic responsibilities. In addition, in the studies we have carried out, we see that there is a balance between the employees and middle managers of the financial system, but at the level of the board members and main officials of the banks the balance obviously tilts on the male side with 79% (in DR). So there is still a lot of work to do to achieve gender equity.

Read more about women working in digital financial inclusion, the use and value of disaggregated data, and national-international women’s day!



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