Tuesday 30th March 2021
Throughout March, in celebration of International Women’s Day, we asked women change makers from the Alliance to dig deep and reflect on what advice they would give other women in their professional and personal lives. Their tips ranged from putting your hand up for stretch assignments and surrounding yourself with people who will push your ambition to having a plan and marketing yourself. It seems odd that we have to think of ourselves as brands, but given what the research shows on where we still are in gender equality, this re-frame is helpful.
Avivah Wittenburg-Cox, our guest speaker during our gender D&I Working Group, went a step further, re-framing the 20th century as when women were emancipated and the 21st as when men have to be persuaded to share the reins. She argued that the issue is not about “fixing” women but about billing men’s ability to deal with gender balance in the workforce as a core skill — one that is needed to get ahead like any other.
Skill, will and enabling processes and policies are all part of the mix, as aptly captured in our latest gender D&I case study on HBL, Pakistan. The bank has moved from a 3-percent female workforce in 2004 to 18 percent in 2020. In parallel, the bank has grown its percentage of female customers to 24 percent in a country where only 7 percent of women have access to financial services. Clearly, the external and internal reinforce one another, creating ever more buy-in for gender balance.
In April, we launch our Fintech Fridays series with the aim of helping fintechs target the women’s market and connecting them to commercial banks, big tech, unicorns, and investors working to drive the female economy. We encourage you to check out our peer learning calendar for the full range of activities in 2021.
This month, we’re super excited to welcome our newest member, ABN AMRO. In this issue, Daphne de Kluis, CEO of the Commercial Bank, and Chantal Korteweg, Senior Strategy Consultant, share the bank’s multi-faceted approach for supporting women in the Netherlands and Northwest Europe and their decision to join the Alliance.
Finally, this month we’ve highlighted some new initiatives launched by members to celebrate International Women’s Day, including the launch of Mastercard’s credit card with Seneca Women, which enables users to support women-owned businesses; Westpac’s What The Finance podcast series on financial education, and Santander Argentina’s financial and business education platform, Santander Campus.
Sincere thanks to all our members and stakeholders for your incredible work toward gender balance.