Funds industry marks International Women’s Day

Woman leaderSeveral funds management firms stepped forward to champion women’s efforts and achievements in celebration of International Women’s Day 2015 yesterday (March 8).

Asset manager BlackRock embraced International Women’s Day through a blog post, calling on five of the firm’s female leaders to discuss their experiences.

Amy Belew, Jane Leung, Heather Pelant, Amy Schioldager, Sara Shores participated in the discussion, covering topics such as how the investment industry engages with women, the increasing numbers of women pursuing a career in finance after education, the importance of role models and advancement opportunities for women, and the encouragement to be gained from a stronger female presence in the boardroom.

The 30% Club also joined in. The group, founded by Helena Morrissey, Newton Investment Management’s chief executive officer, is made up of chairs and chief executives who are voluntarily committed to creating a better gender balance on UK corporate boards. The club tweeted about improvements to the number of women on FTSE 100 boards - an ongoing focus - referring to new findings from from relationship capital management firm, Boardex.

New figures out today from Boardex show that women now account for 23.5% of FTSE100 boards! #onwardsandupwards

— 30% Club (@30percentclub) March 9, 2015

The findings stand out against a KPMG report released in December last year, which found that amongst the 17 UK investment managers surveyed, women made up only zero to 29% of directors.

Societe Generale also took stock of changes made so far to improve the outlook for women employees. The group runs a ‘diversity board’ to monitor gender equality, and has also established a programme to promote awareness of unconscious biases, which has been conducted among 775 managers to encourage fair recruitment and promotion. Societe Generale also allocates a budget to correct wage gaps between men and women, and has spent €3.56 million in this area since 2013.

Professional services firm, EY, promoted its campaign to get more women into leadership roles, ‘Women. Fast forward’, via Twitter and LinkedIn, stating: “Accelerating women’s advancement is not just a fairness argument; it’s also an economic imperative that creates higher growth, increased prosperity and stronger communities.”

EY also reported that its Women Athletes Business Network mentoring programme has joined with the International Women’s Forum to select and match elite female athletes with prominent female business leaders, helping to support their transition to successful careers and leadership positions after retirement from sport.

Even Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted a message for International Women’s Day, pledging to bring positive change to the lives of women in his country, including greater financial independence.

My message on International Women's Day, in various languages.

— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 8, 2015

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