To celebrate International Women’s Day earlier this week, I represented Girls Talk at a private event organised by the Bank of England on gender diversity in financial services.
The panel discussion was opened with an address from Jayne-Anne Gadhia, CEO of Virgin Money and (author of the report on ‘Empowering productivity: harnessing the talents of women in financial services’).
On the panel:
- Catalina Bayvel, Girls Talk London Advisory Board Member (who works in change management at Lloyds Bank Commercial)
- Natalie Campbell Board Member of Local Enterprise Partnership for London, Big Lottery Fund and Chair of Nominet Trust
- Chaired by Sam Woods Deputy Governor for Prudential Regulation and Chief Executive Officer of the Prudential Regulation Authority
- Sarah Breeden Executive Director, Bank of England
Women in Finance charter
In November 2016 HM Treasury announced that 93 firms across the financial services sector have now signed the Women in Finance Charter. This means that these firms have committed to implement four key industry actions, recommended in Jayne-Anne Gadhia’s review into the representation of women in senior management in financial services published in March 2016.
The second cohort of signatories will be announced at the end of March 2017; while numbers have increased, some notable names are still not yet signed up!
Find out more about the charter at www.womeninfinance.org.uk/.
What the panel thinks
The message that came through loud and clear from the panel is that it’s not that there is an issue with the quality of women in financial services, it’s about being given the opportunity to shine.
One of the participants commented that good people management skills are not valued in financial services. I certainly support that from my time at Credit Suisse.
Here are some of my favourites thoughts and tips from the panelists:
- You need to build your own development plan.
- Build networks.
- Have a clear goal and a plan to support it.
- Think about who you need to influence.
- Drive the agenda yourself.
- Get a coach or mentor or sponsor.
- Figure out who you are and what you want.
- Put your hand up.
- When you sit at the table, speak up up and have something to contribute.
- Be brave and lean in.
- Ask for support.
- Expect success.
As employers and as leaders ourselves it is important to bear in mind that:
- What gets measured, gets managed. So while I don’t always agree with quotas, if this is a way to drive equality and raise awareness, let’s do it.
- As leaders, it is important to offer ‘stretch opportunities’ to women further down the talent pipeline.
- It is incumbent upon all of us, as women, to play our part.
- This is not just a woman’s issue. It is an issue for all of us and let’s get men involved as change agents too.
What about you?
This was a fascinating panel discussion and I was delighted to represent Girls Talk in the audience.
If you are a woman in financial services, I’d love your thoughts on how you see gender equality is changing in your organisation.