Too few women get to the top in the finance industry. It's time to change that

Jayne-Anne Gadhia
Jayne-Anne Gadhia questions City A.M. reporters (Source: Greg Sigston)

Today, City AM publishes its Power Women 100 list, celebrating female success in the city. The list is dominated by women working in tech, law and the finance industry - which is a significant achievement in itself. Why? Because too few women get to the top in the finance industry.

Executive committees are made up overwhelmingly of men, with only 14 per cent female representation at the top table. While more women than men start out in the finance sector the majority fall out, especially at middle management level. This leaves almost all of the top jobs in the hands of men.

Last year I was asked to lead a government-backed review into how we can get more women in senior executive positions in the industry. There are myriad reasons why women leave the industry but significantly it was because the culture isn’t right.

As such I recommended in my report that financial service firms link parts of executive remuneration to gender balance targets, that firms set internal targets for gender diversity in their senior management and appoint an executive solely responsible for gender, diversity, and inclusion.

City A.M.'s Power 100

The overarching recommendations of the report have been incorporated into the Women in Finance Charter, a pledge which commits firms to supporting the progression of women into senior roles in the financial services sector. The principle that working together to use the skills and talents of everyone to achieve a better outcome can also be applied to the current debate about whether Britain should stay in the EU.

One of the EU’s founding values was equality between women and men and while inequalities still exist, the EU has made significant progress over the last decades thanks to equal treatment legislation, integrating gender into all other policies and specific measures for the advancement of women.

There can be no doubt that the European Union's achievements in promoting equality have helped to change the lives of many European Citizens for the better.

Personally, I think leaving the EU would be a backward step. We need to keep moving towards a more prosperous and fair future for everyone. Perhaps then we will see a Power People 100 list with an equal split of men and women, driving the success of the greatest city in the world.

- To celebrate the launch of its Power 100 list, Jayne-Anne Gadhia guest-edited City A.M. on 18 May. Find out more about the Power 100 here.

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