Changing Gender Norms Required to Increase Women’s Representation in Financial Services: Jane Hume
Senator Jane Hume, Minister of Pensions, Financial Services and Digital Economy and new Minister of Women’s Economic Security, urged the financial services industry to help more women run business.
Delivering the opening speech at the fifth annual Women in Finance Awards 2021, held in person at the Star in Sydney on Friday, December 10, Senator Hume applauded the financial services industry for increasing the number of women on boards and in leadership positions and creating a more gender balanced industry, but suggested more could be done.
“When I think back to what the financial services industry looked like when I started my first job out of college, it’s really quite amazing how far we’ve come,” said the senator. Hume.
“And while the progress is encouraging, we cannot rest on our laurels. There is still so much to do. “
Senator Hume noted that women now make up over a third of board seats at ASX 200 companies.
Indeed, according to the Australian Institute of Company Directors, women represent 34.2% of ASX 200 boards and 41.8% of new appointments (as of November 30, 2021). There are now no boards in the ASX 200 without women.
By comparison, they accounted for just 5% of all new ASX 200 board appointments in 2009 and 8% in 2008.
“This is an encouraging trend, but there is still work to be done in the pipeline,” said Senator Hume.
Change will take time
Ms Hume pointed out that the financial services and insurance sector was one where women remain underrepresented in managerial positions, with the minister citing data suggesting that while women make up 48.6 percent of the sector, they represent less than 30 percent of the boards. members and only fill 13 percent of board chairs.
“There are still too many obstacles, but the structures of our society cannot be changed overnight,” said Senator Hume.
“The government can pull levers to alleviate some of the challenges, but continuing to improve women’s economic security is complex and this requires changing gender norms in pay and care, career opportunities and leadership. “
In her opening remarks, Senator Hume highlighted the business case for greater representation of women in leadership positions, including better results for organizations as well as their productivity and profitability.
ASX-listed companies that increased the representation of women by 10 percentage points or more, or that appointed a female CEO, experienced an average 5 percent increase in market value (equivalent to 78.5 million dollars for the average business), according to a Workplace Gender Equality (WGEA) study showed.
Everyone has a role to play in closing the gender gap
Senator Hume told delegates at the Women in Finance Awards luncheon that it is up to governments and workplaces to close the gender gap by appointing more women to leadership positions in all industries and all businesses.
She congratulated all of the finalists and said they were shaping the industry and “passing the torch to other women who in turn would forge their own path.”
Last year, the federal government released an updated version of the 2018 Women’s Economic Security Statement as part of the Women’s Budget Statement, which includes a $ 1.9 billion investment. in women’s economic security.
The document was originally designed to focus on women’s participation in the labor market, their earning potential and economic independence.
The 2020 declaration broadened attention and identified five key priority areas, including:
- Repair and rebuild women’s participation in the labor market and further reduce the gender pay gap
- Provide more choice and flexibility for families to manage work and care
- Support women as positive leaders and role models
- Meeting the diverse needs of women
- Helping women be safe at work and at home