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Pro Mujer is fighting exclusion with inclusion

Maria Cavalcanti has some advice for financial institutions now adopting a gender lens: Don’t exclude men.

The CEO of Pro Mujer, one of Latin America’s largest women’s organizations, says it’s “critical to include men and families in the conversation on gender equality.” In an interview with NextBillion’s Scott Anderson, Cavalcanti said, “Men can be role models, key allies and activists, and have a powerful role in shaping the future generation.”

Pro Mujer in 2014 and 2015 provided $660 million in loans to 250,000 clients, as well as 2.1 million health services through its centers and mobile clinics. It ensures health services are offered to its clients’ partners and children.

More women in Latin America are becoming entrepreneurs out of opportunity than necessity, says Cavalcanti, but still face barriers to finance and networks.

To boost Pro Mujer’s “one-stop shop for empowerment” Cavalcanti is partnering with fintech and tech companies to offer clients mobile loan processing and payment options. Cavalcanti, who was a founder of FIRST Impact Investing, took leadership of 27-year-old Pro Mujer last year.

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