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Embrace Equity: Why We Need More Women in Finance

This IWD, let us embrace equity by celebrating the success of women in finance and encouraging more women to enter the field. In this blog post, we will discuss why it is so important to have greater representation of women in finance and what we can take to make this a reality.

We will also look at some inspiring stories from successful female professionals who have broken through barriers to reach their goals. By embracing equity, we can create a better future for everyone.


Equity vs equality

Equity refers to fairness and justice.

Equality, on the other hand, is a subset of equity. It means providing the same opportunities to all.

Equity recognises that we do not all start from the same place and must acknowledge and make adjustments to address imbalances.

Equity also aims to ensure fair treatment, access, equality of opportunity and advancement for everyone while also attempting to identify and remove the barriers that have prevented some groups from fully participating.


Reasons why there are few women in finance

Yes, women have made significant progress and shattered glass ceilings in the finance sector. However, we still need more women in finance.

According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, female talent in finance still remains one of the most untapped business resources.

The report states that finance is still thought of as a male-dominated field that’s difficult to break into.

A study by The Forté Foundation, a non-profit consortium of top business schools, shows that although gender equality is increasing in business schools, the number of MBA applications is not increasing at the same rate.

Some of the reasons why there is a lack of female representation in the finance sector include;


Lack of mentors and role models

Many women in finance cite a lack of role models or mentors as a major deterrent to pursuing their careers.

Moreover, female mentors can boost minority representation, while also guiding mentees up the corporate ladder by helping them learn such skills as emotional intelligence, making connections, and effective communication.


Work-life balance

There is a widespread belief that women in finance don’t have the same work-life balance as their male counterparts.

Women in finance careers often have to juggle work and family responsibilities, making it overwhelming. For example, a mother may work full-time and still have to care for her young children.


Competitive field

Ordinarily, the finance and accounting fields are very competitive.

This has been said to make women often underestimate their own capabilities and refrain from applying for or accepting positions in finance or accounting.


Embrace Equity: Why we need more women in finance

Addressing gender inequality in the finance sector is imperative not only to promote equity but also to boost corporate performance.

A study by the International Monetary Fund, IMF, found that greater inclusion of women as users, providers, and regulators of financial services would have benefits beyond addressing gender inequality.

It further believes that narrowing the gender gap would foster greater stability in the banking system and enhance economic growth. It could also contribute to more effective monetary and fiscal policy.


1. More diverse problem-solving abilities

An increased female representation in finance opens the door to diverse problem-solving because it offers varied approaches.

As a result, considerations that might have been overlooked or thought inconsequential to one group might carry significance for another.

It’s clear that the more varied a workforce, the greater the opportunity for new approaches to optimizing processes.


2. Increased collaboration

More women are currently emerging as strong leaders, prepared to do more to support their teams and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

The Ibukun Awosikas of this country have helped to widen the debate, proving to be keener to collaborate and build coalitions with their colleagues.

These developments prove that women are more inclined to collaborate with peers and opposing stakeholders to reach an agreement.


3. Higher employee engagement

Organisational communication is fundamental to any business, especially in the finance sector. Its absence would result in ineffective processes and incomplete tasks.

Having more women in finance boosts open communication which in turn creates a more cohesive team.

Top female managers are known to provide more support to their teams than their male counterparts.


4. Improved financial performance

The success of a business is ultimately defined by its profitability, and this is predicated on greater gender parity.

Having a gender-diverse staff increases an organisation’s profitability.

The reason for increased financial performance isn’t 100% certain, but the correlation between the monetary performance of a business and its female leadership is evident. This is the time to embrace equity!


5. Women may be better risk managers than men

The IMF study also posits that women tend to be better risk managers than men.

Psychologists believe that each gender manages risk in different ways, with research finding that females tend to consider the bigger picture and wider effects of a risk management strategy, while males usually adopt a more streamlined, practical approach.

Women in finance are also less likely to take risks in stressful situations, making them the best people to create risk management strategies for organisations.


Embrace Equity: Celebrating Nigeria’s leading women in finance

IWD 2023 emphasizes the importance of creating a more equitable world, where everyone has access to the same resources and opportunities regardless of their gender, race, or socioeconomic status.

It calls for the dismantling of systemic barriers that prevent women from achieving their full potential in all aspects of life, including finance. The goal is to create a more equitable society that provides equal pay, equal access to educational and career opportunities, and an end to gender-based discrimination.

By embracing equity, we can ensure that everyone has an equal chance at success in finance and other industries.

Nigeria has had its fair share of women who have made huge stride in the finance industry.

Prominent among them are:

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a renowned economist and former Minister of Finance and Foreign Affairs of Nigeria. She was recently appointed as Director General of the World Trade Organization, making her the first African and woman to hold this position.

Ibukun Awosika is a successful businesswoman who founded The Chair Centre Group, one of Nigeria’s top furniture companies. She has also served on several boards including First Bank Nigeria Limited and Nestle Nigeria Plc.

Khadijat Abdulkadir the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Xerde Limited. Xerde is responsible for the social financing app, Tudo.

Yemisi Edun, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of First City Monument Bank. She is the first woman to ever hold the position. She assumed this position in July 2021

Miriam Olusanya, Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank. She is also the first woman to ever hold the position. She assumed this position in July 2021.

Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe is a Nigerian business executive and banker. She is the first female Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank Nigeria.

Odunayo Eweniyi, the Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of PiggyTech Global Ltd, a digital savings platform that is committed to helping people effectively manage their finances by saving money towards their targets/goals with high returns.

Fara Ashiru Jituboh, a software engineer and entrepreneur. She is the co-founder and CEO/CTO of Okra. Okra, enables the secure exchange of real-time financial information between customers, applications, and banks.

Eloho Omame, co-founder and co-managing partner of FirstCheck Africa, a female-focused angel fund committed to providing access to capital for female founders across Africa.

In essence, we must create an environment where female professionals can thrive. This includes providing access to mentorship, resources, and opportunities for career advancement. Additionally, organizations should strive to foster a culture of inclusivity and ensure that their policies are non-discriminatory. Let’s embrace equity and help create a financial industry where all voices are heard and respected. Through this effort, we can create a better future for both men and women in finance.

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