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The Third Billion campaign, created by La Pietra Coalition, is working to ensure that women across the world have access to legal protections, access to finance, education and training, and access to markets – so that they can be fully empowered participants in the global economy. A milestone was reached today:

Our voices have been heard! For the first time ever, the need to increase women’s access to financial services has been recognized by the G20 Finance Ministers. 

Sign our petition to show your support and remind them we intend to monitor their follow up.

Following pronouncements made at the Seoul and Cannes Group of 20 (G20) Leaders Summits, and in preparation for the 2012 Mexico G20 Summit, La Pietra Coalition has been asking the G20 to take action to advance women’s financial inclusion, by endorsing the recommendations of the IFC and GPFI, and to insist that progress towards those commitments for women be measured and reported publicly. Recently, in anticipation of the April 2012 G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in Washington D.C., La Pietra Coalition sent a letter to remind these G20 ministers of our priorities for access to finance and access to markets, which would bring us one step closer to greater economic opportunities for women.

The need to increase women’s access to financial services has been recognized in the below G20 Finance Ministers CommuniquĢ©:

Part 9: As an important complement of the G20 financial regulation agenda, we agreed to follow through on the five recommendations of the 2011 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion report, endorsed in Cannes, and take the financial inclusion agenda forward towards concrete results and we agreed to present to our Leaders at the Los Cabos Summit the G20 Basic Set of Financial Inclusion Indicators, which will assist countries, policymakers and stakeholders in focusing global efforts on measuring and sustainably tracking progress on access to financial services globally. We acknowledge the efforts of those G20 and non-G20 countries willing to commit to national coordination platforms and strategies for financial inclusion under the ”G20 Financial Inclusion Peer Learning Program” at the Los Cabos Summit as well as the ongoing efforts and the importance of coordinated support, policy advice and technical assistance by GPFI implementing partners, other stakeholders, including the UN, and bilateral donors and request their continued support to national strategic planning, implementation and data initiatives in support of financial inclusion. On financial education we recognize the importance and relevance of the work that the OECD, its International Network on Financial Education (INFE), and the World Bank have been doing in this topic and look forward for the OECD/INFE High Level Principles on National Strategies for Financial Education to be presented to our Leaders for their consideration at the Los Cabos Summit. For advancing our financial consumer protection agenda we recognize the importance of the International Financial Consumer Protection Network (FinCoNet) as a global network of market conduct financial authorities. We also ask the G20/OECD Task Force on financial consumer protection to develop with the FSB effective approaches to support the implementation of the High Level Principles endorsed in Cannes, and recognize the importance of an active participation in this processWe recognize the need for women to gain access to financial services and financial education, and call for the GPFI and OECD/INFE to identify additional barriers women may face.

In June 2012 the G20 Heads of State will meet under the Leadership of the Government of Mexico.  The strengthening of financial systems and advancing financial inclusion for economic growth have been established as top priorities for the Mexico G20 Summit. La Pietra Coalition looks forward to the Mexico Summit to learn how the G20 will turn their commitment to greater financial inclusion for women into concrete results.

Sandra Taylor is the Senior Director of La Pietra Coalition. Cross-posted with permission from La Pietra Coalition