UN Book Launch – Opening remarks by H.E. Herman Schaper

Founding a Movement: Women’s World Banking 1975 – 1990

Opening remarks by H.E. Herman Schaper

Permanent Representative of the Mission of the Netherlands to the UN

New York, Wednesday 5 December, 4 – 7 pm 


Dear Ms. Michaela Walsh, ladies and gentlemen,

I am very pleased to be here today to celebrate the publication of “Founding a Movement” by Michaela Walsh.

It is an inspiring story that needs to be told. A story, a history really, about women with a shared vision creating the first global women’s financial network.

Mind you, we are not talking about 1997 or 2005. Women’s World Banking goes back more than 40 years, all the way to 1975. A time when banking and finance was almost entirely the domain of men. You can imagine extraordinary effort it took to create Women’s World Banking.

The book provides a compelling inside account of the unique founding history of this movement. Keywords are vision, shared values, networking, trust, hard work, perseverance, collaboration, and shared risk taking.

Women’s World Banking has truly been a pioneering movement. As a network run for and by women, Women’s World Banking has been one of the earliest effective promotors of the dual goals of women’s empowerment and financial inclusion.

Both these goals – women’s empowerment and financial inclusion – have always been important to the Netherlands. That is why I am pleased that part of the founding roots of Women’s World Banking lay in the Netherlands, and that my country has been a proud supporter of Women’s World Banking.

I salute Ms. Michaela Walsh, Founding President, key leader and ‘chief engineer’, so to speak, of Women’s World Banking, for her ground-breaking role. And I congratulate her, as well as everybody who contributed to the book, on an excellent job documenting the founding history.

I am particularly pleased to announce that I am joined in my congratulations to Ms. Walsh and Women’s World Banking by no other than Her Royal Highness Princess Máxima of the Netherlands. Princess Máxima has asked me to convey her best wishes to you. As a woman, a working mother, a former banker and currently the Secretary General’s Special Advocate for Financial Inclusion, she knows how crucial access by women around the world to a range of financial services is, and she works hard to promote this – not as an end in itself, but to improve their lives.

Finally, I am convinced that “Founding a Movement” will be a source of inspiration for many – women, and men too!

Thank you.

H.E. Herman Schaper