While we have all faced a new set of challenges over the past twelve months, research tells us that women have felt the challenges of the last year most acutely. In recognition of International Women’s Day, I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the women in business who have broken barriers during a year, which for several reasons, has been anything but ordinary.
This year has already seen a couple of ‘firsts’ when it comes to gender parity, at least at the leadership level. Jane Fraser became CEO of Citi, the first woman to hold the position at a top 10 US lender; Thasunda Brown Duckett will become CEO of TIAA, making her the second black woman to currently hold the chief executive role at a Fortune 500 firm.
Looking to our own client base here at Chatsworth, we have also seen females assume more leadership positions. Niv Subramanian was appointed Previse’s Chief Commercial Officer in early 2021, joining the ranks of women leading the way in fintech such as Catherine Minter, R3’s Chief Revenue Officer; Adeline Ee McNary, Head of Marketing at Contour; and Mosaic Smart Data’s Data Science and Research Lead, Dr. Diane Castelino.
We are seeing more women given the platform they deserve across the media, too. Dedicated journalists are making a conscious effort to commission and publish more articles written by senior females. Pursuing a gender-balanced narrative across the press is equally as important as the change taking place at the leadership level.
There are also more women running the publications which shape and report on global events. Just this week, Joy Macknight was appointed editor of The Banker. Joy joins Roula Khalaf, editor of the Financial Times; and Financial News editor, Shruti Tripathi, as leaders of prominent publications. Key fintech publications, Finextra, The Fintech Times and Ledger Insights are also run by women.
Closer to home, I am fortunate to be a member of Chatsworth’s 60% female workforce and I am confident our thriving team is due to the strong female presence we have at the senior level. Chatsworth’s Director, Liz Fleming, has built a culture where training and development are easily accessible for all team members and Senior Account Manager Catherine Day ensures junior colleagues are valued members of the teams they work with and that no question ever goes unanswered. I have found Chatsworth to be a place where women are both heard and championed, with dynamic and inspiring colleagues, mentors, and managers.
For many, the pandemic has worsened workplace equality, as women have picked up invisible tasks at home – 64% of mothers took responsibility for home-schooling compared to 49% of fathers during the first lockdown and women with children are more likely to have stopped working (UCL, 2020). Last year the UN published a report saying that 90% of men and women hold some sort of bias against women. Clearly, the road to equality is far from over. To me, this makes International Women’s Day more important than ever.
A recent article by FT business columnist, Pilita Clark ‘Women aren’t all superstar leaders in a crisis. So what?’ really hit home. I completely agree with Clark: we must continue to pursue gender equality both in the workforce and in senior leadership until all women have “the freedom to make an utter hash of things every now and then, a right that men have cheerfully taken for granted for centuries.”
While the challenges faced by women in business across all industries still pose barriers, I am reassured by what I’ve seen over the last year. Albeit slowly, the number of women in leadership positions in the fintech sector is growing. For this, on International Women’s Day, I will celebrate.
Written by Marie Graham, Senior Account Executive at Chatsworth Communications.
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