What the Financial Services Industry Must Address to #BreakTheBias

What the Financial Services Industry Must Address to #BreakTheBias 1280 720 Shona Klibingaitis

A women’s perspective provides a difference that enriches the experience of our clients. The lived experience of juggling work, parenting, and adapting an exacting time management skill set gives us a particular insight on people’s busy lives and has meant that we have learnt to adapt and communicate in an inclusive manner. But gender roles have also meant that women have had to work hard just to earn the right…

So why aren’t we “there” yet, why do we still have so far to go to #BreakTheBias in 2022?

We still have a divide that is prevalent throughout our industry that is insidious. We get a lot of lip service, but I am still shocked at how women are treated or dismissed by those in leadership.

Change can only happen when those who have the power take real steps to make a difference.

Practice What You Preach

There is a widening gap between expectation and reality of men and women when it comes to the commitment to the promotion and advancement of women in financial services. In fact, that gap is getting wider. The issue is that organisations are happy saying they’re going to do something. And believe me, women are hearing you “say something” and then experiencing something quite different.

“Is the promotion and advancement of women into senior roles a priority in your organization in practice?

If you want to #breakthebias, practice what you preach.

Cultural Change for Some

Personally, I’ve found that while there has always been a good representation of women in finance & banking in entry and mid level roles – a particular change has occurred in finance broking. This change is cultural and if you ask women, it is still the number one ongoing strategy to get more women involved. But the impact of cultural change is not moving quickly upwards, the number of women in leadership or executive level is still very low and more work needs to be done to address this.

Globally, 20 percent representation of women on executive committees and 23 percent on boards is not enough and while in Australia, positive change is occurring, we are 2nd with 38% female representation of Executive committees (a 10 point increase between 2016-2020). There is still a long way to go to create an industry and world in which women have equal access to opportunity and positive outcomes. We need to #breakthebias for all.

I believe in respect to all and the right person for the right job. But surely with all the amazing, talented women out there we can start to build opportunities and representation for all voices within our businesses and communities and #breakthebias.

Shona Klibingaitis is Senior Lending Specialist at Viridian Advisory.