I have always been a hopeful optimist about the trajectory of women, but as the number of women reaching the top just hasn’t made the progress I expected, I have become much less accepting of the status quo. How can it be that we still aren’t seeing faster progress for women across the world and in every industry?
And yet, in the past 12 months it does feel like we are finally seeing an attitude shift, even if it is not yet the big change needed to truly unlock the talent the financial services industry needs. We have seen new laws on female board representation and governments and regions legislating that companies must publish detailed comparisons of gender pay data. And I am delighted to see many organizations – including PayPal and Accenture – publishing clear targets for inclusivity- not just guidelines or goals but tangible targets to be hit.
The facts are simple and clear. Report after report from esteemed and respected sources globally has confirmed that diverse businesses are happier, more profitable and more successful, yet we still see a substantial gap in all forms of diversity.
In 2018, I launched Rise Up at Money20/20 in Las Vegas. Rise Up is a curated leadership academy for aspirant female talent in our industry. It is a 4-day program in personal leadership and development. It tackles, briefs and equips women in a world where getting seat at the table in some companies remains challenging, and it helps women who, more than ever, want to be connected to women just like them to form supportive, connected networks.
In the U.S., only 27.8 percent of senior level positions in the financial services industry are held by women, according to Mash & McLennan Companies. The figure drops to 19.8 percent when analysing board positions and plummets to 1.4 percent for female CEOs.
In Asia, there are huge disparities on gender inclusivity. The recent INSEAD study of 1557 of the largest listed companies across 20 Asian countries highlighted that women occupy just 12.8 % of board seats across Asia. There are substantial differences across the region – Australia and New Zealand lead with 24.7% and 21.7% respectively – whereas Taiwan, Japan and South Korea range between 2% to 7%.
The global financial service industry is undeniably undergoing massive change. There really is a money revolution, with many predicting that the next 5 years will unleash more seismic shifts than the previous 5. The industry’s needs are changing rapidly and it is thirstier than ever for innovation, creativity and leadership talent. This is why it is so vital that we unlock all available talent to support the incredible growth opportunities in the sector.
It’s for these reasons that I am extending our highly successful programme Rise Up to Money20/20 Asia. Rise Up is not simply facilitating another conversation on gender imbalance, but rather providing a solution and steps to real-world action. We do this in five ways:
I am excited and eagerly looking forward to welcoming our first 2019 Asia Rise Up cohort to Singapore.
May they go far.
The article is written by Tracey Davies, Managing Director at Money20/20. Money20/20 is where the world’s decision-makers from across the Financial Services, Payments and Commerce community unite to grow their business, learn about the latest commercial models disrupting their value chains, create new partnerships and discover the future of money.
On 19-21 March 2019, Money 20/20 Asia will take place at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. You’ll get access to real-life case studies, insights, stories of successes and failures, workshops and more that will enable you to understand the ways in which you can evolve your business to grow across Asia and beyond. Find out more on https://asia.money2020.com/