The Women in Finance Awards were launched in 2017 as a platform for celebrating the achievements of women working and making a difference in the global financial services industry. The need for an awards ceremony such as this was identified as women still account for just 12% of leading industry positions on a global scale, despite many organisations within the financial industry claiming to have diversity initiatives in place.
Historically, some women have held top roles within financial institutions, such as Joey Horn, Vice President of Mergers & Acquisitions at Credit Suisse in the mid-nineties. However, even now, more than twenty years later, there is still a need for more female role models within the industry. The Women in Finance Awards event seeks to identify the trailblazers and celebrate those who have achieved success in this largely male-dominated business sector.
In the infographic attachment, you can see some of the figures that demonstrate why diversity awards such as these are needed in the financial services industry.
Promotion Beyond Middle Management
In the UK, London has maintained its position as one of the top financial centres in the world for many years. At the same time, the city has been called out as one of the worst areas within the global financial industry for attracting, promoting and retaining women in leadership roles. Promotion beyond middle management is limited for women, with only a small percentage of top roles having female representation.
There are many reasons contributing to this statistic, which include biased hiring practices and management, lack of empathy and flexibility, the burden of organisational and societal expectations, and a serious lack of relatable role models. The Women in Finance Awards highlight those women who are currently, against the odds, forging ahead and creating the beginnings of a community of role models.
Inspiring Early to Mid-Career Women
The Women in Finance Awards recognise women who have achieved career goals in finance that set them up as role models for other women in the early or mid-level stages of their career. The hope is that recognition in this form will go some way towards levelling the playing field for women in finance at each stage of their career journey. The Awards are designed to encourage more women to break down barriers in the earlier stages of their career and address those challenges that still face women in this sector. Factors such as the gender pay gap, mid-career stagnation for women, biases in hiring and promotion, and a lack of female mentors are all tackled by the awards.
In the short video attachment, you can learn more about how women are underrepresented not only at senior employment level, but also in terms of higher education in the financial sector.
The Women in Finance Charter
John Glen MP was one of the keynote speakers at the 2018 awards ceremony in London. Glen spoke of the Women in Finance Charter of the HM Treasury, discussing the proven link between profitability and gender balance. The PDF attachment looks at how financial institutions such as banks have been shown to have greater stability when there is a higher proportion of women represented at senior levels.
Glen reminded the audience at the awards ceremony of the importance to the UK economy of the success of the financial services industry. He also emphasised how that success has been linked to greater balance between genders, before urging attendees whose firms were not yet signed up to the Charter to do so.