Closing the Gap: How to Empower Women in Banking

Women in banking and gender diversity have been studied by many. While there are still significant challenges, research shows progress has been made this past year.

Are Women in Banking Treated Differently?

There are many research reports that have studied how women in banking are treated, how they lead, and the impact the gender gap has made on the financial services industry. Here are some quick facts from a recent study by McKinsey:

  • Women make up 53% of the entry-level banking workforce, yet less than 1/3 of the SVP and C-suite workforce is female
  • Women who live with a spouse are 7.5X more likely to say they are responsible for a majority of household responsibilities
  • Financial-services employees with women managers are 50% more likely to say their manager provided emotional support and 25% more likely to say that their manager has helped them navigate work-life challenges

It’s clear that while progress has been made, there is still a gap for women in banking.

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How to Empower Women in Banking

As a financial institution, you may be asking yourself, “How do I help close the gap for women in banking?” We’ve pulled together some practical and impactful ways you can bring your organization together through education, leadership and culture.

Set Clear and Fair Expectations on Work Flexibility

Women often feel less able to request to work remotely when they need to. Twenty-nine percent of men say it’s not a big deal to request work flexibility in comparison to only nineteen percent of women.

In a world where women prioritize flexibility and managerial support – this can be a problem. You can break down this barrier by highlighting senior leaders (especially women) who take advantage of the flexible options your company offers all employees. Be clear about working remote expectations.

Employees often look to their manager(s) to interpret company policies. Managers are role models and should respect boundaries in terms of flexibility and remote work. Lead by example.

Be Proactive with Burnout

Do you offer training to your management on how to identify signs of burnout and how to intervene? Managers should be active in encouraging employees to set healthy boundaries. It’s not just the direct manager’s job to offer this encouragement but should be modeled by senior leadership too.

Practice Social Inclusion

It’s been proven repeatedly that social inclusion is key for a person’s sense of security and opportunity. Employees need to feel connected and valued within the team(s) they work with.

Consider this scenario. Several employees have a routine of going to a nearby restaurant for drinks after work each week. More women than men could be excluded from that social activity because of their caregiving responsibilities at home. Everyone is responsible to make a conscious effort to ensure inclusion.

Resources for Women in Banking

Everyone benefits when we come together to support women in banking. Here are a few practical resources to further inspire and encourage you to do your part in closing gender gaps.

State Banking Association or Credit Union League

Many associations host annual Women in Banking conferences and/or networking events. Check with your local organization for what they host each year and what’s available.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training

Engaging and effective DEI Training from the top down will help instill a culture of inclusion of diverse genders, appearances, and beliefs. OnCourse Learning has the following series available in their course catalog:

Studies & Survey Results

Many research companies invest in research on women in banking. Here are a few of the resources we’ve found most helpful:

 It’s not fair to up the burden of closing gender gaps on only women. Ensure that both male and female leaders and employees are part of the conversations and change.

Interested in learning more about how to drive diversity and inclusion? Contact us today to learn more about courses in our course catalog.

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By |2022-03-01T16:17:23-06:00March 1st, 2022|Financial Services, Mortgage|Comments Off on Closing the Gap: How to Empower Women in Banking