In March, our social media feeds overflow with posts and stories commemorating International Women’s Day, shedding light on issues surrounding gender equality, gender equity, diversity and inclusion. Yet, these crucial conversations shouldn’t be confined to a single month; they need to persist year-round. Especially the finance industry has long grappled with gender disparity, and although strides have been made over the past decade, there is ample room for improvement.
We’ve browsed through the data, uncovering 15 significant statistics and studies that highlight the present state of women in the finance sector and underscore the advantages of achieving greater diversity.
Women in the Finance Sector Today
- According to a 2019 study by Deloitte, only six out of the 107 largest public financial institutions in the United States had women in the role of CEO.
- Harvard Business School’s research reveals that women hold merely 9% of senior roles in venture capital and a mere 6% of such positions in private equity.
- Women are underrepresented in courses that lead to financial growth, with men studying economics at almost a 2:1 ratio compared to women.
- Globally, women fund managers are underrepresented compared to other professions that demand similar educational backgrounds, such as lawyers and doctors. For instance, while 43% of doctors in Australia and New Zealand are women, only 11% of Fund Managers are.
- Women, especially women of color, remain underrepresented in leadership positions within North American financial industry firms. Although women constitute 30% of entry-level positions, they make up only 17% of C-suite positions, plummeting to a mere 1% for women of color.
Barriers to Women’s Entry into Finance
- CEOs who are appointed to their positions (rather than founding companies) are predominantly groomed and recruited from specific leadership roles: leading lines of business, finance, or operations. These leadership pools are precisely where women are most underrepresented. While women do hold leadership positions, they historically haven’t often led to CEO promotions.
- Research by Mercer has identified that women studying finance are almost 50% more likely to express that they don’t know enough about investment management (IM) to consider it as a career option.
- The financial and insurance industry exhibits the highest gender pay gap, standing at 26.1%, as per the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
- Projections suggest that even with comparable talent flows, female representation in financial services will stay the same in the next decade (0% change). Achieving gender parity may necessitate over-indexing or favoring women in hiring, advancement, and retention efforts.
- While 70% of senior leaders in financial services express passion and active engagement in Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives and programs, this percentage drops to 45% for frontline manager engagement – those who interact daily with employees. This disparity limits the acceptance and implementation of these crucial initiatives.
The journey towards gender equality in the finance sector is ongoing, and leaders like Mary Mikhail and Dr. Rafeek Mikhail, Vice President and CEO of CaMu Financial Services, Inc., are pivotal in steering the way forward. Mary’s inspiring career, marked by her dedication, expertise, and advocacy for financial education, inspires professionals and emphasizes the importance of gender diversity in finance. Her unwavering commitment to both her family and her clients showcases that achieving excellence in finance while balancing life is indeed possible.
Mary Mikhail’s journey exemplifies the impact women can make in the financial world, breaking barriers and leading by example. Her career signifies that gender should never be a barrier to success in the finance industry. Her guidance empowers the next generation of financial professionals, and her dedication ensures that the path to gender equality in finance is not a fleeting conversation but a sustained movement.