We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women's achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.
1. Within your market / industry, what progress have you seen businesses take to progress gender equality?
There have been huge changes since I started professional work in 1992. My team is now exactly 50% women which is really important to me because I enjoy working with women and I am determined to avoid groupthink by having diverse points of view represented. Having said that, what I think is important is treating people as people without labelling them.
2. What is one action companies can take to further balance their talent attraction strategies?
I think apprenticeships and internships targeting under-represented groups is a good way to expand the talent pool.
3. What is your top advice for making job descriptions more inclusive?
I’m not sure job descriptions are the key. What I think is key is having diverse leadership teams so that applicants can see people with whom they identify in senior roles.
4. Do you think that more companies adopting a hybrid working pattern has helped to shift pre-conceived conceptions about flexible working for women and why?
The key issue is the cost of childcare which is ridiculously high and prevents many women, who (let’s be honest) still shoulder the burden of the bulk of childcare, from returning to work in a meaningful way. Flexible working clearly helps by allowing nursery and school pick ups for small children, but more tax breaks to make the cost of childcare more affordable would be of most help.
5. What advice would you give aspiring women in the industry you work in?
Just do it. Don’t wait to be offered a promotion, ask for it where it is deserved. Build networks of advocates and don’t be afraid to fail.
6. International Women’s Day is also about celebrating women and their achievements. Who inspires you?
Obviously there are lots of celebrities we can look to who are leading their fields. This is all great, but I get inspired by looking around me and seeing women holding things together, getting on with it, and putting others first.
7. Are there any companies you admire for the ways in which they celebrate women's achievements?
I am really proud of what IQ-EQ in the UK & Ireland are doing. We are putting our money where our mouth is through our Launchpad initiative which is designed to help female-led fund managers launch successfully. 6 of our 11 strong leadership team in the UK&I are female, and I’m looking forward to the day that this balance is reflected in our other jurisdictions and at our group executive level.