Gender equality in the financial sector: Why we need more women in the financial industry

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Employee at the Desk - Gender Equality in the Financial Sector

For a long time, the financial sector was considered a male domain. Fortunately, things have changed in recent years: more and more women are asserting themselves as financial advisors, fund managers or managing directors. But there is still a long way to go before there is an actual balance in the distribution of jobs.

The number of women working in the financial sector has already been increasing for several years. That is already a good start! However, if you look at the top management levels, things do not look so bright. The share of women on the boards of large banks and financial institutions is still in the single digits, the annual growth is low. And worldwide, only 6 percent of all CEOs are female!

Gender Pay Gap and Part-Time Trap

The problems are clear: the gender pay gap, gender stereotypical prejudices and the unequal distribution of parental leave still stand in the way of a fair working world. It is still predominantly women who work part-time in order to reconcile child and career.

The consequences are evident in many sectors, but are particularly tangible in the financial industry. The Alpha Female Report 2021 by Citywire on women in fund management shows this quite drastically: even though the share of women in asset management has risen slightly in recent years, if growth remains constant it would still take until 2150 for women to make up about 50 percent of the industry - that's more than 100 years away!

The study also shows that Germany in particular is weakening in an international comparison. The European leaders are Spain and Italy - with just about 20 percent women.

Gender diversity as an opportunity for companies

The advantages of mixed-gender teams have even been scientifically proven. A heterogeneous and diverse workforce not only promotes creativity, innovation and inventiveness, it also improves the working atmosphere and team spirit within the company. In departments with measurable results, mixed teams perform significantly better and achieve the best figures.

Studies also show: companies with women in leadership positions are more successful overall and generate significantly more profits. Equality is therefore not only a matter of justice, but also serves economic and corporate success at the same time.

Equal opportunities in practice are also considered a success factor in the "war of talents". The targeted addressing of female applicants expands the resources in the recruiting area and a respectful, equal approach to the topic improves the value as an employer on the applicant market. Those who do not look rigidly at gender and outdated stereotypes, but at the individual competences and strengths of a person, ensure strong teams - and strong employees have long been the most important asset of any company that wants to be successful in the long term.

A long way to go

More and more companies are focusing on diversity and equality, even if practical approaches are often lacking. The gender pay gap, i.e. the wage difference between men and women, is addressed or even transparently reported by very few companies.

Reconciling family and work is also important to be able to offer women long-term perspectives. Modern companies therefore increasingly offer flexible working hours, home office and childcare options. In order to get a grip on the low quota of women in executive positions, part-time management positions should no longer be a taboo subject. There is still a huge gap here: the switch to part-time work is almost always seen as a career killer.

It also makes sense for more companies to specifically search for female professionals. This also benefits business - it increases the pool of promising applicants and potential employees. But there is also work to be done at the other end. Especially in countries where the financial world is still dominated by men, many women lack the courage, incentive or simple interest to look around in the industry.

Yet there are so many unique, female careers in finance - they just need to be made more visible! Qualified women could be more motivated to consider financial companies as employers and to apply for corresponding positions. And much more educational work can also be done with female pupils, students and graduates, for example through increased information offers, career events or addressing them at schools and universities.

As much as has already been done in the last 100 years in terms of the women's movement and equal rights: There is still a long way to go to achieve the goal of actual equality in all sectors and especially in the financial sector - and to be able to maintain this in the long term. We are convinced that employers as well as employees, applicants and end customers can only benefit from this.

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