The financial industry has historically been a male-dominated business sector, with the vast majority of senior roles held by men. Despite years of efforts to promote equality and gender diversity among some of the biggest banks and financial institutions in the world, recent figures show that women are still woefully underrepresented at the highest levels and, in some areas, the percentage of women in key roles is actually on the decline. Some of the statistics for women in finance can be found in the embedded infographic.
Women such as Joey Horn, former Vice President of Mergers & Acquisitions at Credit Suisse First Boston in New York (among other key roles), have been blazing a trail for women in senior financial roles for many years. However, the uptake by women of higher education followed by a career in finance is still lower than ideal. Influential business schools across the world, recognising that they could have a part to play in redressing the balance, are now offering a plethora of incentives for female students to encourage higher rates of participation on financial degree courses typically dominated by male students.
Scholarships for Women
Dozens of scholarships have been launched by MBA schools around the world over the past ten years or so, aimed at making high-profile courses in finance more accessible to female students. Many of these are supported by financial institutions and leading banking corporations, providing funding for discounted costs of tuition or even free tuition in some cases.
Since 2014, London Business School has received the equivalent of $47,000 from the MBA Scholarships for Women programme from Lloyds Scholars to cover percentages of course fees.
Since 2017, the Alliance Manchester Business School has been in receipt of a full tuition fee scholarship made available by the 30% Club. These are just a few of the incentives being introduced to try and redress the gender imbalance in the financial services industry at source level.
The 30% Club
The 30% Club was launched in 2010 in the UK by Helen Morrissey as a campaign to accelerate progress by women in the financial services industry. The 30% Club has actively campaigned across several areas to help improve access for women, including promoting female-friendly language in college brochures. The aim of the 30% Club is to work with business schools to help them meet and exceed the target of 30% female representation on MBA programmes. It was formed in response to the critical recognition that companies see better results when there is a better gender balance.
You can learn more about the mission and vision of the 30% Club in the PDF attachment to this post.
The many efforts to recruit more women into finance are seeing some results, but progress remains slow. According to figures from the Financial Times’ top 100 MBA global rankings, female participation rose from 33% in 2013 to 37% in 2018. In the pre-experience masters in finance courses, female participation rose from 40% to 42% over the same period.
Business schools across the globe are therefore upping their efforts to attract more women to top-level finance courses, with initiatives such as partnering with gender equality-based organisations and a rebranding of marketing materials to ensure the language is more gender-neutral.
The Women in Finance Awards is another initiative designed to help encourage more women to enter this still male-dominated industry by showcasing those that have achieved success in the financial arena. You can learn more about these awards by watching the short video attachment.