Focus Area


The IFC Women's Insurance Program advises IFC clients and staff on building a robust women’s insurance market. 

Globally, the socioeconomic status of women, their decision-making ability, and their power to influence household spending is increasing. Women now tend to earn more and have better control of their assets, helping their families and communities prosper—while contributing to overall economic growth. Yet, despite these advances, women’s ability to mitigate financial risk for themselves, their families, and their assets remains low.  

The insurance industry can play a major role in addressing this gap and earn up to $1.7 trillion by 2030 from women alone—half of it in emerging economies if they target women, according to IFC’s 2015 SheforShield Report.

Since the launch of the study, IFC has worked with clients in Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka to advise them on building a robust women’s insurance market. We support our insurance clients to:

  • Enhance their ability to better understand the women’s market
  • Create targeted approaches to address women’s needs as insurance customers or distribution force
  • Develop programs and train their distribution force to better build and maintain good relationships with women customers, and succeed as insurance agents and distributors

In recent times, the pandemic has exacerbated the challenges women and women-owned SMEs face in managing risk and building financial security. As part of efforts to address the risk-mitigation needs of women during the crisis, we developed a guidance note to highlight the best practices from insurance companies on how they can support female employees, customers, and agents during the pandemic.

There is also a need for innovative ideas from the supply and demand side to support women in their risk-management solutions, including insurance for women-led enterprises and low income customers. We recently partnered with ILO to create a Community of Practice. The initiative seeks to:

  • Increase awareness among the insurance industry of the opportunity women represent as customers and employees
  • Provide guidance to the insurance industry, especially insurance companies, intermediaries, and fintechs, on exploring opportunities for growth through the women’s market
  • Foster knowledge-sharing among industry stakeholders that are looking to invest in the women’s market.

IFC is a thought leader in the women's insurance market as a result of continued development of first-of-its-kind research and publications, such as SheforShield ReportMainstreaming Gender and Targeting Women in Inclusive Insurance: Perspectives and Emerging Lessons, and a COVID-19 guidance note for the insurance industry.

Leveraging research from IFC Women's Insurance Program, the  Access to Insurance Initiative (A2ii) published  The Role of Insurance Supervisors in Boosting Women's Access to Insurance in July 2021. The report highlights six key actions insurance supervisors can take to enable greater access to high-quality insurance for women. It also provides an overview of women's access to insurance and the impacts of COVID-19 on the risks women face.

Learn more through our factsheet on the Women's Insurance Program.