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Celebrating International Women’s Day #ChooseToChallenge  #IWD2021

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Today is International Women’s Day and I blogged for a week about diversity and the inclusion of women last summer.

Since then, I’ve noticed a lot of headlines about women in banking. Typically, the headline is something like

In other words, the media is reporting that some woman – it doesn’t matter who she is or what her name is – has become an important figure in banking. I’ve also noted that the World Economic Forum forecasts that equality will arrive in 2277, based upon current trends.

And now today is International Women’s Day. Do we need an International Women’s Day? Well, let's look at the situation in banking ...

Some might say it’s getting better, but I found it interesting to read the transcripts of the Barclays Qatar investment trial, where the Board were being questioned as to whether the bank got a dodgy bailout in 2008. The transcript recorded conversations between the leaders of the bank that included many offensive terms. Apologies, but summarised in this tweet …

In fact, I’ve noted many times the pervasive culture of Sexism in The City so, just for today’s event, I thought I would share a few stats stolen from

Few Women Reach Leadership Positions in Financial Services Across the World

Globally, women represented 12% of CFOs in large-cap firms and 34% of CFOs in mid-cap firms in 2018.2

In 2019, women’s global representation on executive committees in major financial services firms was only 20%, up from just 16% in 2016.3

In 2019, women’s global share of board directors in major financial services firms was only 23%.4

In a 2018 global survey of firms in alternative investments (e.g., hedge funds, private equity and venture capital, private real estate funds), women accounted for only 13% of CEOs.5

Among these firms:

  • Over half (62%) have women in noninvestment leadership positions.6
  • More than a third (38%) include women on the firm investment committee.7
  • Nearly half (49%) offer flexible work arrangements.8

Compared to other industries, the financial services industry had the highest number of women CFOs (18) in 2019 in the Fortune 500 and S&P combined.20

In 2019, fewer than a quarter (21.9%) of senior leadership roles within financial services firms were held by women. Current growth projections of 31% by 2030 are still far from parity.22

In the banking and consumer finance industry women are just at parity (50%) for entry level positions, but a gender gap gradually increases along the leadership pipeline, from 42% of managers to 27% of senior vice presidents.23

The list goes on.

According to Deloitte, Wall Street women made up more than 50 per cent of employees in the field in the United States in 2019, but only 22 per cent of managers - leaving aside the highest positions. Current trends predict that figure will rise to 31 per cent by 2030. And male financial analysts earned 17 per cent more on average in 2020 than their female counterparts.

So, to celebrate International Women’s Day, I recognise that Stephanie Cohen is a likely successor to David Solomon at Goldman Sachs and congratulate Jane Fraser for being promoted to CEO of Citi Group. Good job. But also want to recognise there are many other great female financers out there from Jill Castilla and Nanditi Bakshi in the USA to Ann Cairns and Alison Rose in Europe. I just want you to know that I recognise you and your contribution, as well as those of all races, creeds and ethnic groups. Our world should not be one of separation and mistrust, but should be one of integration and celebration. I celebrate diversity and the fact that this day recognises the role of women in work everywhere.

Enjoy International Women’s Day.

Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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