Thursday 25th February 2021
Every now and then I’m struck by the realization that change ultimately comes down to individuals no matter how fancy our theory of change is. Being part of this Alliance I am fortunate to meet many such change agents, each having chosen to become a leader with purpose. No matter what our rank, we can all lead with purpose of course, but combining it with being at the C-Suite is hugely powerful.
We all know that too few women are making it to the C-Suite. In this issue, Haig Nalbantian, Senior Partner at Mercer’s Workforce Sciences Institute, shares his wisdom from years of working with large sets of workforce data on the key issues women and organizations need to look out for. First, women in early and mid-career levels need to understand which jobs are ‘accelerators’ to the top and which are not. Haig points out that in financial services, key ‘accelerator’ roles are people manager and supervisor roles as well as customer-facing roles; all of which women are under-represented in. By contrast, project management roles, such as Chief of Staff, have high visibility but are not connected to the business, and the data shows will not get you to the top.
Second, getting exposure to a wide range of experiences, often across geographies—is also key, but requires moving around and women are often constrained by family obligations to do that. The data also shows that going part time is still a career killer. So while organizations need to widen the pathways to leadership, women also need to proactively understand these pathways when looking to join particular organizations. All of these insights and more can be gleaned from Mercer’s Internal Labor Force Mapping tool, which is a recommended diagnostic tool in our How-To Guide: Becoming The Employer Of Choice For Women. The ILM was discussed, along with Bank Al Etihad’s pay equity analysis tool, during our Working Group “How-To in Action: The Future of Work” this month, designed to support members to get the most out of the Guide.
Last week we finished off our eAll Stars Academy with a pitch competition where students had 3 minutes to present their case for a Women-Centered Strategy to a jury made up of Alliance experts. Eleven teams participated and the three finalists then pitched to the entire student body who voted for the winner. Many congratulations to BRAC Bank for winning the competition and congratulations also to the 200+ students from 80 institutions for completing the Academy. We are delighted to have laid the foundation for successful programs in so many institutions so early in the year.
Earlier today we kicked off our 2021 fintech focus with an Ask the Expert session led by Celo on the transformative role that blockchain and digital currencies can play in unlocking the full value of the female economy. For instance, solving pieces of the puzzle of underwriting small businesses by building digital identities; establishing a history of transactions to assess credit worthiness; tokenizing moveable and immovable assets on the chain for collateral and marking a lien on a specific token by a particular financial institution, could each have a huge impact on women’s financial inclusion and certainly when combined. The session opened up our eyes to the opportunities of ‘microwork’, which could be done anywhere on a mobile phone and be paid through digital currencies—pegged to the dollar and other stable currencies—to the same phone. Truly fascinating and a great start to our 2021 Ask the Expert series. This month we are also very proud to introduce our newest fintech member GFI, Malaysia. In this interview, Dr Haniza Yon, Founder and CEO shares her psychometric testing tool that support banks to underwrite loans, enabling more women-owned or led businesses to access finance.
To inspire more fintechs to tap into the women’s market, next month we will start our Fintech Friday series bringing together banks, fintechs and investors to collaborate on solutions and design the challenges put forward for our 2021 Alliance Hack taking place in September.
The daily work of change agents with a deep commitment to the female economy continues across our members and while impossible to report on all, this month we’d like to give a shout out to Banco G&T Continental who just launched their Women’s Market program in Guatemala and to Tyme Bank who just raised a round of funding for their expansion in South Africa and entry to the Philippines.
As we widen our reach, sincere thanks to all our members and stakeholders and new recruits for your purposeful leadership.