How Women In Banking Can Rise to the Top

American Banker | Jodi Detjen

Women represent 54% of the labor pool in the finance and banking industries. But a precipitous drop occurs at the executive level. Just 11% of chief financial officers are women, while only 23% of all senior officer positions are held by women. The few women at the top with families typically have a stay-at-home spouse in support of their careers. The message is clear: women with families are not welcome.Screen Shot 2013-12-16 at 11.56.34 AM

A number of factors have conspired to keep many women from reaching the top in banking and finance. Significant financial rewards go to those who prioritize face time and hours at work, making it difficult for women to achieve work-life balance. Meanwhile, systemic gender bias often forces women who want to stay in banking and finance to adapt to male-dominated, aggressive cultures. The result? Finance has the largest pay differential of any industry.

To cope with a system that seems stacked against them, women in these industries are often forced to make difficult choices. They leave banking and finance, choose less-competitive career paths in government or community banking, take lower-level jobs or quit working altogether. The compound effect of these individual decisions is that the only women left in executive positions are those willing to put up with gender bias and extreme hours, thus perpetuating un-family friendly cultures. Continue Reading

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