Senior business leaders, diversity and HR heads, and delegates across the financial world joined together at the 2017 Women in Finance Summit to discuss diversity and how to increase female representation within the industry.
Held at Bloomberg’s European Headquarters in London, the summit was moderated by Helena Morrissey CBE and featured keynote speakers from across the finance sector such as Jayne-Anne Gadhia and Simon Kirby MP.
Helena Morrissey CBE, Chair of Newton and founder of the 30% Club, opened the conference saying: “I am excited to see so many people here today, but it is also a testament to the way we have to go.”
Throughout the day, culture and how to change it within the finance industry was a reoccurring theme.
Moderator, Morrissey said: “Women are more put off by some of the characteristics in banking than men.”
Dr Astrid Jaekel, Partner at Oliver Wyman, agreed saying: “Women are discouraged by the culture in the financial services.”
Diane Côté, Group Chief Risk Officer, London Stock Exchange Group said: “It is a cultural issue and not a HR culture. You won’t change culture from the bottom up.”
Keynote speaker Simon Kirby MP discussed the government’s role and strategy to ensuring that female representation in the boardroom and senior roles is increased.
As part of this plan, last year the Treasury announced the Women in Finance Charter, in which signatories commit to supporting the progression of women into senior roles. Organisations set their own internal targets and publicly report on any progress made.
Speaking of this, Kirby said: “There are many female senior leaders in this room who are testament to how far we have come. But there is still a long way to go.”
“It is time we made change happen faster.”
“If we want to stay on top, we have to see more women at the top.”
“The Charter isn’t just a piece of paper, it’s about driving real change.”
“Join us in advocating the change we all want to see.”
Panel discussions took place throughout the day raising topical trends and key thoughts, with an opportunity for the audience the pose their questions to the speakers.
Huw Evans, Director General, ABI raised the issue of flexible working saying: “We need to tackle the issue of how parents can return to work after having children.”
“[Flexible working] has to be led from the top. It will not happen organically.”
Speaking about the need to sign the Charter, Evans continued saying: “We shouldn’t be congratulated on joining something that we wouldn’t have to join if we weren’t so bad at it.”
During the conference, key findings and data were also presented including the findings of the 2017 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index and Oliver Wyman’s Women in Financial Services 2016 report.
Delegates were also invited to take part in networking sessions throughout the day, accompanied by refreshments.
Closing the conference, Mary Macleod, Senior Client Partner, Korn Ferry, Former Member of Parliament & Government Advisor, inspired the audience by concluding, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Watch a short summary video of the summit below: