WIBF launches UK’s first cross-sector gender research programme in financial services

women in banking and finance

Women in Banking and Finance (WIBF) have today launched the UK’s first cross-sector gender research programme in financial services.

The programme, Accelerating Change Together (ACT), aims to drive policy change to better support and retain women working in financial services. The research will harness the collective input from banking, asset management, professional services, Fintech and insurance, to address the pressing gender and inclusion challenges the sector faces.

This is the UK’s first cross-sector research programme designed to bring a gender lens to the UK financial services industry and is supported by Blackrock, Citi, Refinitiv, Barclays, Santander, Baillie Gifford, The Cumberland, and Aegon, along with AFME as an associate sponsor.

The four-year programme will be conducted by The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and The Wisdom Council, a financial services consumer insight and engagement specialist.

Speaking about the research programme, Dr. Grace Lordan, Associate Professor in Behavioural Science, LSE, said, “I am excited to be part of this collaboration with WIBF.”

“Over four years this project will take an innovative approach to investigating the causes of gender differences in progression, and trial and evaluate solutions to what is uncovered.”

Vivienne Artz, President of WIBF, adds, “The ACT Research Programme is a pioneering approach that brings together the UK’s most innovative and financial services organisations to collectively drive the development of new solutions that will help turn the gender diversity dial.”

“Participating firms are signposting their commitment to building a more balanced workplace and this research will provide the clear calls to action, support and tools to reap the benefits.”

“As the only UK-focused organisation of its kind WIBF is uniquely positioned to drive this programme, by working in partnership both with our members and the wider industry to bring together a multidisciplinary team to effect genuine change.”

Year one of the ACT research programme will explore the barriers and opportunities for women in the mid-term of their careers, through new primary research, quantitative and qualitative insights, culminating in a report of actionable recommendations and interventions.

Participating firms will then apply these findings in their workplace and measure the successes of the best practice policies under the guidance of leading researchers and academics, supported by a cross functional group of senior business leaders and D&I practitioners.

This multi-year programme will be carried out in four distinct phases so that the research can address industry ‘hot topics’, using a framework to effect change in an agile, implementation-focused approach. Each phase will center on the gender issues that are prevalent for organisations, exploring how these issues arise and the underpinning reasons for their persistence, what actions can be taken to mitigate these issues, and how success is measured.

ACT is the latest of a number of flagship initiatives established by WIBF in support of their mission to bring a gender lens to the workplace in UK Financial Services, leveraging their insight and extensive network to champion successful innovation.

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