This Sunday, communities around the world will gather to celebrate International Women’s Day. I for one know we cannot understate the importance of this event. For the last hundred years, the 8th March has been dedicated to recognising the achievements of women in achieving gender equality. At the same time, I also believe it offers an ideal opportunity to identify the obstacles that are still holding women back from reaching their full potential.
For this year’s iteration of International Women’s Day – or #IWD2020 – the theme is #EachforEqual. In other words, the campaign is all about achieving gender equality and ensuring the rights of women and girls are protected. Importantly, #IWD2020 is calling for the wider community to understand that gender equality should not be framed as a women’s issue, but instead a business issue. This is point I strongly agree with.
A study by McKinsey puts things into perspective. Should we consider a “full potential” scenario whereby women participate in the economy identically to men, McKinsey estimates that it could result in $28 trillion being added to annual global GDP by 2025. What this demonstrates is that gender equality not only helps communities to thrive; there are also significant economic benefits.
Promoting gender equality
So, what can be done to ensure that more women bridge the gender gap and achieve their career aspirations? This is something I am commonly asked as a woman in a senior leadership position. And as you’d expect, the answer isn’t all that simple.
For example, targeted intervention across the private and public sectors is regularly touted as a solution. In this scenario organisations are encouraged to achieve gender equality by adhering to regulations and policies.
This is something we have already seen being adopted here in the UK. The Women in Finance Charter, for example, calls for the financial services industry to work together and build a more balanced and diverse workforce. One of its aims is ensuring that more women are able to progress to senior roles at both executive and mid-tier levels.
While I do see this as am important initiative, more work clearly needs to be done to promote gender equality. At the moment, it is estimated that under a fifth (17%) of FCA-approved individuals working in the UK are women. Interestingly, the same study also shows that 23% of those in senior leadership positions are female.
As someone who has worked many years in the financial services industry, I believe part of the problem is that women feel as though they don’t have same career progression avenues as their male counterparts. In other words, there are simply not enough women in visible senior leadership positions to inspire other women to enter the industry. This is not something solely confined to the financial services industry, but rather a reflection of the bigger issue at hand.
MFS celebrates #IWD2020
I am very proud to say that Market Financial Solutions (MFS) is a proud supporter of #IWD2020. Indeed, our growth and ability to deliver specialist finance loans tailored to the needs of our clients and brokers is a result of our creative thinking, experience and skills. We excel at this because of our commitment to gender equality. Our ever-growing team of skilled and diverse individuals remain fundamental to MFS’ success. We believe in rewarding people on their merits, celebrating their achievements and creating role models that others can aspire to.
That’s why whenever I’m asked about gender equality and what can be done to support women, I tell them the following – promoting equality means empowering individuals, regardless of their race, gender, ethnicity or creed.
Tiba Raja, Director, Market Financial Solutions