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THERE'S NOTHING MICRO ABOUT A BILLION WOMEN

MAKING FINANCE WORK FOR WOMEN

An engaging and wide-ranging look at new developments in banking access.

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A comprehensive look at how to bring more women into the global financial system.

In this debut nonfiction book, Iskenderian, the head of Women’s World Banking, a nonprofit focused on women’s access to the financial services around the world, offers insights into how the banking world can best adapt to the needs of women and what can be done to enable more women without bank accounts to access banks’ saving and borrowing functions. (The author points out that a third of all adults are “unbanked.”) The book explains why the ability to participate in the financial system matters, the specific barriers that keep women from establishing accounts and getting loans, and what interventions have made meaningful differences. It also addresses the profit-driven business case for greater inclusion in addition to the human rights rationale. Iskenderian looks at how developments in both mobile and in-person banking have offered new opportunities for inclusion, addresses the limitations of microfinancing, and shows that changes to banking access have wide-ranging impacts on families, communities, and regions. Policy wonks will appreciate the detailed and data-driven background; the author is both well informed and skilled at explaining such information in depth. Along the way, she offers policy recommendations supported by fully cited studies in a prose style that, while occasionally dry, is refreshingly free of jargon and minimizes complexity: “As long as women lack the ability to claim assets in their own names, they will be denied full financial inclusion.” The book’s holistic approach to financial inclusion—addressing insurance along with the ability to save and borrow and drawing connections between financial empowerment and gender-based violence—adds a valuable layer to the discussion and expands on the existing literature. The book concludes with concrete, plausible policy recommendations, suggestions for further research, and reminders about the importance of expanding access to banking. Readers with an interest in financial technology, women’s empowerment, and economic development are likely to find the book informative and enjoyable.

An engaging and wide-ranging look at new developments in banking access.

Pub Date: April 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-262-04644-2

Page Count: 232

Publisher: MIT Press

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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BEYOND THE GENDER BINARY

From the Pocket Change Collective series

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change.

Artist and activist Vaid-Menon demonstrates how the normativity of the gender binary represses creativity and inflicts physical and emotional violence.

The author, whose parents emigrated from India, writes about how enforcement of the gender binary begins before birth and affects people in all stages of life, with people of color being especially vulnerable due to Western conceptions of gender as binary. Gender assignments create a narrative for how a person should behave, what they are allowed to like or wear, and how they express themself. Punishment of nonconformity leads to an inseparable link between gender and shame. Vaid-Menon challenges familiar arguments against gender nonconformity, breaking them down into four categories—dismissal, inconvenience, biology, and the slippery slope (fear of the consequences of acceptance). Headers in bold font create an accessible navigation experience from one analysis to the next. The prose maintains a conversational tone that feels as intimate and vulnerable as talking with a best friend. At the same time, the author's turns of phrase in moments of deep insight ring with precision and poetry. In one reflection, they write, “the most lethal part of the human body is not the fist; it is the eye. What people see and how people see it has everything to do with power.” While this short essay speaks honestly of pain and injustice, it concludes with encouragement and an invitation into a future that celebrates transformation.

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change. (writing prompt) (Nonfiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09465-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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