HM Treasury  

Female representation in the City improving

Female representation in the City improving

More than 800,000 employees in the UK are now covered by the Women in Finance Charter, as more than 30 new companies have signed up to the government's plan to tackle gender inequality in financial services.

Vitality, Skipton Building Society, and Commerzbank AG are just some of the new firms signed up to the Charter, taking the total number of businesses signed up to over 330.

Jayne Anne-Gadhia, the government's Women in Finance Champion, said: "HM Treasury's Women in Finance Charter continues to play a leading role in improving the gender balance across the UK's financial services sector.

"We know that there is more to be done and I am pleased to see the progress made by Charter signatories so far, and that a further 36 financial services firms have made a public commitment to develop a more diverse and inclusive workforce by signing the Charter.

"HM Treasury's Women in Finance Charter asks financial services firms to commit to four industry actions to prepare their female talent for leadership positions."

The announcement, which was made yesterday (March 14), also marks the launch of the second Women in Finance Charter Annual Review that shows that female representation in senior management at firms who have signed up to the charter is increasing.

The review found that 86 per cent of signatories have either increased or maintained the proportion of women in the top jobs.

The review also shows that the Charter is holding firms to their promise, with 87 per cent of signatories on track or already having met their ambitious targets.

John Glen, economic secretary to HM Treasury, said: "Gender equality is not just a moral imperative, it is also better for employees and better for business. Which is why it is vital that we see conversations on gender diversity taking place across the financial sector. 

"Without the committed women and men championing the gender agenda at every level in their firms, we would not have seen the fantastic progress that we have today.

"But, we will only see long-lasting change with consistent action, so we'll continue to monitor the progress of the sector closely to ensure it keeps up the momentum. If progress slows, we can and will take further action."

Alan Lakey, founder of CI Expert, said: "I believe employers are often reluctant to employ women in important positions for the fear that they will leave to look after a family.

"Many employers are looking for ongoing commitment and fear that it is less likely if offering a position to a female.

"While this is an old-fashioned attitude it persists and will take time to break down.

"With house-husbands no longer unusual the gender gap is gradually disappearing but there is still the attitude amongst some men that women cannot do as good a job as a man. 

"This weeks Cheltenham races has highlighted how female jockeys, such as Rachael Blackmore and Bryony Frost, are capable of competing against male jockeys on equal terms and this lesson is gradually being learned."