Do you work in finance? Look around your boardroom or office. How many women can you see? Despite the fact that we’re in what is now thought to be the fourth-wave of feminism and jobs in finance and financial education aren’t showing any signs of slowing, women are still struggling to make an impact in the higher echelons of business. In fact, a survey by the Financial Times showed that of the world’s 250 banks and financial service groups, just six chief executives were women, and only 13% were part of their executive committees. At this rate, it is expected that females will not achieve executive parity for another 120 years, well into the 22nd century.

But can we afford to wait that long? While we at the London School of Business and Finance actively encourage students of all genders, most banks simply do not offer equal representation, despite the fact that studies show that workplace diversity can significantly increase productivity, with mixed-gender offices reporting higher levels of co-operation, team morale and general office satisfaction.

So why might women not be attracted to a career in finance? To be a great businessperson, a talent for knowing when to take a risk is imperative, as is the ability to make incisive decisions. Psychological experiments have proven that men perform better in both areas, but naturally, no aspiring entrepreneur should ever be stifled by stereotype – studies also show that women are more effective leaders, often taking on extra tasks than a man would to guarantee success.

The biological difference between men and women has also been labelled as a factor, with women often offered much more maternity leave than the male equivalent, making it harder to hop straight back on the rungs of the career ladder after childbirth. However, as more and more career-hungry women delay starting a family or having one at all, this sentiment is fast losing potency in the professional world.

So what can we expect for women’s future in the boardroom? Like all industries, recruitment in finance should always be about the best person for the job, irrespective of sex. As times change, and applicant demographics for positions like the ones LSBF have to offer begin to become more even, there is hope that women will begin to climb the ranks and claim the positions they deserve. With inspirational leaders like Ana Botin, recently appointed chairwoman of Banco Santander, or Lisa Carnoy, head of global capital markets at Bank of America, leading the charge, perhaps 2015 might be the start of a more equal working environment in finance.

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