International Women’s Day 2019 – Women in Finance

IWD 2019: IMF research finds that more women in finance could boost economy by 35%

Ahead of International Women’s Day 2019, which is held on Friday 8th March, we’re taking a look at how the impact hiring more women in the global finance sector could have. 

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has recently published research showing that this difference could be huge, to the extent of boosting the economy by as much as 35%. 

The head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, commented on the research when speaking to The Guardian ahead of IWD 2019. She suggested in particular, that banks with more women on their boards would be more stable.  She said:

“What we have observed is that when there are more women the banks’ capital buffers are larger, the number of non-performing loans is smaller and the risk indices are lower. It is not causality but it is a strong correlation.”

Lagarde called for gender empowerment in the interview, which she believed based on evidence from the IMF leads to: “higher growth, a reduction in inequality, an improvement in the strength of the economy and a more diversified, export-focused country”.

What are the major obstacles for women in finance?

The countries that could see economic gains as high as 35% are those who rank in the bottom half of the league table for employing women and for gender equality. These include Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Lebanon. 

In these countries, there are actually restrictions in the law that actually prevent women from pursuing or working in finance roles. While in countries such as the UK and the US, discussions about the gender pay gap continue, in other nations women face obstacles in actually getting to work. In around 18 countries in the world, women can be legally prevented from working. In India, transport can be one of the obstacles in women getting to work, while in Morocco there are issues with inheritance law discriminating against women. 

Sexual harassment is also a big problem, as in nearly 60 countries there are no laws to punish this kind of behaviour in the workplace. 

Gender empowerment in the UK workplace

As well as highlighting the problems facing women in finance, accounting and other sectors in developing countries, the IMF also believes that there is absolutely room for improvement in more advanced nations. One of the most pressing issues is participation by women, as well as the gender pay gap. 

Employers have a crucial role to play in addressing the gender imbalance in the workplace, and in getting more women into key finance roles. It all starts with an assessment of essentials such as the gender pay gap in your organisation and taking a cold, hard look at company culture. 

The way you recruit also makes a big difference. Does your company do all it can to appeal to female candidates and support their development? 

If your organisation wants to enact real change, finance recruitment experts such as AFR Consulting are perfectly placed to help. Our expertise and extensive network gives us the tools to find exactly who you’re looking for. Contact us today to start the search