Yes, the finance industry is sexist! Why is finance such a male-dominated industry, and what can we do to improve it? A simple question that requires a complex explanation.
What is the problem?
Rest assured, the world is progressing with increased female representation in higher-executive positions. However, the finance industry, unfortunately, continues to lag. Did you know that women make up nearly 50% of the finance industry, yet only around 26% are represented in the board of directors and 18% in the executive team?
This brings us to the problem. The problem is that women - and especially women of color are underrepresented in higher ranking positions in finance.
There are many ways to explain why this is the case, but the most common struggle explained by women in finance themselves is that they either do not aspire to reach higher ranking positions because it feels unobtainable or that they are not provided the support they need to make it to the top.
How can we fix this problem?
Luckily this problem can be fixed! It will, however, require teamwork, dedication, and understanding from all sides of the industry. Currently, many companies and organizations have already been putting in the effort to evaluate their workplace, one of the ways is to promote gender balance and diversity. However, it is essential to note that focusing on gender diversity and balance in the workplace is essential for a company on paper and practice. Women can add a lot to the workplace dynamics, especially in a male-dominated field where new and valuable perspectives and experiences can be shared.
Most importantly, women in finance have suggested that this problem can be fixed by providing support and sponsorship. Many explain that a driver to help them make it to the top would be to receive support from the organization and senior women. This would allow them to gain the confidence to move forward and pursue their goals that may have felt unobtainable at the start.
What can women add to the industry?
Women add stability to the industry, both within the company as well as towards its customers. According to a McKinsey's study, increased female leadership representation in the finance sector has led to a greater understanding of customers' needs. This is because women have increasingly become responsible for household investing and savings giving them a greater aptitude to customer's needs. Furthermore, the McKinsey report highlited that when an organization's management team is more gender-balanced, this results in a higher return on equity.
Successful women in finance
Numerous women have succeeded in finance and provide a promising future for the industry. Below consists of a small list of inspirational women that have not only made it to the top in finance but have also committed to promoting gender equality in the field:
- Jane Fraser - CEO of Citigroup. Read more about her here.
- Suni Harfod - President of UBS Asset Management. Read more about her here.
- Alison Rose - CEO of Natwest. Read more about her here.
- Yie- Hsin Hung - CEO of New York Life Investment Management. Read more about her here.
At Bits of Stock, we acknowledge the ongoing problem of the lack of representation of women in higher-ranking positions in the field of finance. Furthermore, we feel inspired and would like to applaud all of the inspirational women that have worked immensely hard in the industry. They have set a precedent for other women to witness that change can happen and have to happen to increase female representation in finance. Furthermore, we are firm believers that change happens both from the top and grassroots that's why we launched Bits of Stock.