The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8th is #EachforEqual, promoting that “an equal world is an enabled world” and that “collectively, each one of us can help create a gender equal world.”
This theme especially applies to the financial services industry. As InvestmentNews notes, only 14 percent of advisors are female. With 32 percent of all wealth (about $72 trillion) expected to be controlled by women in 2020, it’s time we built a financial services industry that actually reflects the world we live in.
How We Can Achieve Gender Equality in Finance
So, what are some concrete steps we can take to reach gender equality in the finance industry? New research from LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Co found that helping women move beyond entry-level positions in their financial services careers could be the solution.
Even though women and men enter the financial services workforce in roughly equal numbers, men outnumber women by nearly two to one when it comes to that first step up into manager roles. And that first step is the bridge to more senior leadership roles.
That early drop in the number of women earning promotions creates a gender gap that continues to grow with every step up the career ladder.
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How can we fix this? Firms need to recruit more women financial advisors; mentor women and prepare them for that first level of management; boost the diversity of their leadership development programs; and review their current policies and take steps like conducting a pay equity audit.
If you’d like to continue the conversation about gender equality in finance, consider joining us at one of our Conversation Circles.