How Women In Finance Are Charting a Path to Success on Their Own Terms
When it comes to gender parity, finance is one of the last frontiers.
Over the past ten years, women worldwide have become the majority of the workforce for the first time in history. Women now account for 22% of corporate boards, twice the figure from the previous five years. A global survey of about 22,000 companies found that women in approximately 30 percent of management positions are more profitable than those with lower percentages.
Forced to choose between family and work in an industry with low glass ceilings and barriers to advancement, many women are choosing to leave the industry altogether. Still, many more are opting to start their own financial service company. That women constitute a formidable economic force comes as no surprise.
The Female Factor: Closing the confidence gap
Women previously had an inordinate need to be liked and often missed opportunities because they were reluctant to showcase their capabilities. Nowadays, more and more women are closing the confidence gap and have learned the importance of communicating their worth to those who matter.
Empowered women no longer ask for permission and are reaping the benefits of seeing more women in high places. A few women who have shrunk the confidence gap:
- Know their stuff. Women are the most educated group today and acknowledge that they know what there doing without seeking help from men;
- Navigate the financial industry with mindfulness. They are choosing specific environments that benefit them the most;
- Women are confident in their well-cultivated and connected networks.
Industry Rebrand: The qualities women bring to the table
Women actively demonstrating that financial services is a sector in which they can thrive is a critical first step to rebranding the industry. A rebranding of finance requires an ongoing commitment from both women and men to change, not only by making finance an industry that women can excel in, but also by changing the overall idea of finance service.
In this new era, non-traditional traits are forging the success of women in finance, and in the process, this disruptive mindset is also building an entirely new brand. According to studies that look at the impact of female business leaders, women bring a different set of eyes and skills to the finance table. For women, finance is about more than making money; it’s about making a difference. A few of the traits that set women apart are:
- Women are very inclusive and have a team-building style of leadership;
- Women possess strong people skills, read situations more accurately, look at all sides of an argument, and use their understanding of the situation to persuade people.
The Connected Network: How women support each other
There are many reasons for the pivot away from male domination in finance, and awareness is number one. Select women who had privileges in the past didn’t always use it. Over time these women have become more aware of their privilege and how what they take for granted can be a barrier for others. Women have made massive strides in the realm of business and entrepreneurship by seriously investing in their support for each other by:
- Actively mentoring other women in finance (sharing knowledge & networks);
- Investing financially in women-owned businesses;
- Creating a directory or database of referrals.
What’s Next and Beyond: How women will continue to change leadership
Currently, women are trained for leadership positions the way men are —through competition for power. However, as more organizations shift toward more purpose-driven, people-centered business models, the construct of leadership has changed. Instead of fighting for power, leaders will advocate for purpose, where women excel.
More women are now in leadership positions in global financial institutions or their own businesses, and they are playing an essential role in changing the industry. From now on, women will change future leadership in finance by creating the type of companies they want to work for. This will not only change the administration but how we work. Today, most women in leadership positions have a visible personal brand. With the rise of social media, women build their companies in public and tell their stories. Women will change the future of leadership by:
- Using intentionally inclusive language;
- Humanizing the journey;
- Investing in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI);
- Adopting more flexible policies.
In the final analysis
Success in finance doesn’t have anything to do with gender. Being proactive and analytical are the two most essential skills. Women need to step out from behind the cloak of anonymity to make real change in the finance world. Women in finance c-suites and business owners alone cannot accelerate women’s growth. They need visible and sustained support from all points. Top leaders need to communicate clearly that gender parity is a priority—that it’s crucial for profit, shareholders, and the business’s future.
By, Beverly Davis, Founder & CEO of Davis Financial Services.