By Viet Ha Tran, Director of Admissions for Masters in Finance, IE Business School.
According to the 2017 World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, “ Female talent remains one of the most underutilized business resources.” In some industries this is especially clear. In finance especially, as career level rises, female representation declines. Although 46% of financial services employees are women, only 15% are at the executive level.
(A photo from the New York event at Rise New York)
In the past year, we are seeing the rise of female leaders in different industries. For example GM became the first major company in the world to have a woman as CEO and CFO, Air France appointed first female CEO, Premier League appointed first CEO in history, Revlon appointed first female CEO in its 86 year history. How about the finance and banking sector?
During the month of March 2019, in order to celebrate the International Women´s Day, IE Finance Admissions Team, in collaboration with IE Center of Diversity, IE Southern US & Caribbean Office and IE New York Center, organized the Women in Finance: Breaking Barriers panel in three cities Madrid, Miami and New York. This is a professional panel that brings female professionals working in different areas of finance to share their personal and professional experiences as women in finance. In each city, three or four outstanding women who have achieved success through differerent finance career paths talked about their journey, accomplishments and viewpoints on the gender equality in the demanding finance and banking sector.
The Women in Finance: Breaking Barriers is a new initiative spearhed by IE Finance Admissions Team and IE Center of Diversity which aims at uncovering the numerous career opportunities available within the finance industry and pinpoint their specific characteristics. The event focuses on discussions around the most prevalent topics affecting women in these industries such as balancing a successful career and family life.
IE University has recently launched the IE Women Initiative to encourage women talents in different areas including Women in Finance, attracting women to study a Master in Finance with us. In 2018, IE dedicated a scholarship fund of €6.0million for female students to study at IE at different levels (bachelors, Masters, PhDs and Executive Education programs) and this number has been increased to €8.0 million in 2019.
According to IMF, women accounted for less than 2% of financial institutions’ chief executive officers and less than 20% of executive board members. The proportion of women on the boards of banking-supervision agencies was also low—just 17% on average in 2015.
(A photo from the Madrid event at Club Alma Sensai)
IMIF also found the same relationship between bank stability and the presence of women on banking regulatory boards. What can explain these findings? There are four possible reasons why a higher share of women on bank and supervisory boards may contribute to financial stability:
– Women may be better risk managers than men;
– Discriminatory hiring practices may mean that the few women who do make it to the top are better qualified or more experienced than their male counterparts.
– More women on boards contributes to diversity of thought, which leads to better decisions; and
– Institutions that tend to attract and select women in top positions may be better-managed in the first place.
On the other hand, according to the 2017 World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, “Female talent remains one of the most underutilized business resources.” In some industries this is especially clear. In finance especially, as career level rises, female representation declines. Although 46% of financial services employees are women, only 15% are at the executive level.
(A photo from the Miami event at Banco Santander Miami)
As a result, as a top education institution who educates world class finance professionals and executives, at IE Business School, we are dedicated to supporting women reach their professional goals by providing them the platforms to excel and break industry barriers. In each panel that took place in Madrid, Miami and New York last month, we invited three distinguished female alumni and guest speakers working in finance who discussed the gender gap within the industry and why it is both a challenge and an opportunity. The panel discussed such topics as “Does success in finance depend on gender? Do you think that a woman in finance has equal chances with a man? If so, why are there few women in finance?” and “Some people say being a woman is a disadvantage in the finance sector and some others say it´s an advantage. Are the recent diversity initiatives helping women succeed?”
To know more about the IE Women Initiative, you can visit us at https://www.ie.edu/iewomen/