The number of women in finance is growing, but the journey to expanding the female presence in the finance industry has been filled with hard work and much collaboration. One thing is certain about this initiative, women helping women is the best way to move forward. Senior level women in finance have been mentoring and extending helping hands to other women who would otherwise have faced too many barriers to enter the field, and because of that, the workplace is diversifying.
Studies & Statistics
Recent studies reveal several reasons why there are so few women in finance. Major ones are a lack of role models to help get a foot in the door, home life and motherly obligations, and opportunity for advancement. While there is a focus on expanding female representation in the STEM fields, finance has even worse diversity.
- As career ranking rises, female representation in finance declines. Although 46 percent of financial services employees are women, at the executive level it’s only 15 percent.
- Among senior roles in venture capital and private equity, women held just 9% and 6% of the positions, respectively. Hedge funds were lower with women occupying only 3% of senior management roles.
- Math gender gap likely affects finance careers as women have stereotypes against them in math that affect performance and future career choices.
- Role models are more important to women than men
- The Chartered Financial Analyst Institute (CFA), which today has more than 150,000 members in 165 countries, found that women represent less than one in five CFA members.
- Only 18 percent of the CFA members are women, while in STEM fields women represent 26 percent.
- Some women are also less attracted to competitive environments, such as those commonly found in finance, and may perform poorly when in groups with men.
- The demanding hours of a career in financing sets a barrier discouraging women from entering the field.
Studies show that women benefit from having a role model more than men. When trying to make it in an uphill battle, it helps to have a support system of like-minded women and experienced mentors. These are some of the top organizations you can find a community and support network as a woman in finance.
100 Women in Finance is the leading global group for women in the finance and alternative investments industries. By creating a network of like-minded individuals backed by global investment councils and committees, 100WF empowers women at every stage of their careers. The organization offers peer engagement and philanthropic, educational initiatives, to more than 15,000 members. Overall, 100WF’s mission is to create opportunities that help advance careers and strengthen the field.
FundWomen is an umbrella initiative includes 100WF’s global Investor/Female Manager Investment Conferences and their initiative to promote the public visibility of female investment professionals. As hedge funds have the lowest representation out of all of the finance sectors, this group specifically focuses on female fund managers and the broad community investment allocators.
WIFA is an organization that provides programs and activities for its members such as networking, educational opportunities, events, mentorships, and career opportunities. With structured membership tiers, WIFA caters to the needs of women in various places in their careers as well as various locations and geographical settings. WIFA believes that frequent informal meetings assists to facilitate relationship building and beneficial networking.
Common topics discussed are the wage gap, family leave, leadership and business acumen. At the events, women can share and advise others on their struggles to find solutions and further success. WIFE donates time and money to other charities and causes that empower young girls and women.
The Financial Women’s Association brings together professional women from every sector of the financial world. The organization has partnered with prestigious institutions, government agencies and talented individuals to accelerate the leadership and success of women in finance. By connecting successful women and ambitious women, the Financial Women’s Association recognizes the achievements of women and promotes them to their professional communities.
The FWA was established in 1956 when 8 enterprising women on Wall Street met to share professional experiences and further their knowledge. FWA now has more than 1000 members worldwide.
Since 2015, the Wall Street Journal has presented the “Women In” events series for women in finance. The dinners and pannels adress both challenges and success that women face in the workplace and has notable speakers such as Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and LeanIn.Org founder; Stephanie Cohen, Chief Strategy Officer at Goldman Sachs; Brian Cornell, CEO of Target, Carla Harris, Vice Chairman of Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley, and more. B attending a New York City pannel, women can find a community and hear from thought leaders.
Women in finance does not mean buying stocks and investing. It encompasses bank tellers, business journalists, economists, hedge fund managers, venture capital and many more specialties. Every day women continue to pioneer the man’s world of finance and business, and those who lead the way look back to lend a helping hand. These women have led the way with founding startups and continue to make changes to how women receive startup funding: