Shattering the Glass Ceiling: overcoming obstacles and empowering women in Finance

Only 15% of executive roles in finance belong to women, while venture capital and private equity firms see a mere 4.9% and 10% of senior positions occupied by women, respectively.

Nowadays, women are still facing challenges in the workplace and the job market. This is even more emphasized in the finance sector and other predominantly male-driven sectors where women encounter substantial obstacles and a lack of representation. The culture of the finance industry, characterized by traits traditionally seen as masculine, adds to the challenge as women often feel the need to conform and prove themselves in this environment.

Diversity and inclusion

The burden of work, lack of support, and flexibility further compound the challenges faced by women in finance. 
The pressure to choose between career and family and the constant struggle to achieve work-life balance affect women’s mental health and overall well-being. Despite some progress, workplace cultures still exhibit gender roles and unconscious bias, hindering the advancement of women in finance.

However, research consistently demonstrates that gender diversity in finance teams leads to improved performance and better outcomes. Including women in finance teams, has resulted in higher performance indicators. Moreover, diversity in companies, both in terms of gender and ethnicity, has been linked to improved business results and increased employee satisfaction. 

Currently, clients are also seeking out companies that finally prioritize diversity and inclusion.

IE University’s work

IE University has recognized the importance of addressing the underrepresentation of women in finance. The university organized an event where current and former female students from business administration and finance programs discussed the issue. The participants emphasized the need for career research, guidance, and mentorship for women interested in finance careers. They furthermore highlighted the importance of investing in training more female mentors and raising the visibility of women in the industry.

Next steps

To foster continued change, support and opportunities must be provided to women in finance from the early stages of their careers. Companies need to comprehend and address the challenges faced by women and create systems that facilitate their transition to senior leadership positions. One approach can involve a diverse team in promotion and hiring decisions, ensuring unbiased and well-informed choices.

Breaking barriers requires women to embrace their full potential and challenge societal limitations. Men also play a crucial role by examining their unconscious biases and supporting gender equality.

Despite the obstacles, women are currently creating their own companies, launching initiatives, advocating fearlessly for what they deserve, and dismantling the glass ceiling in finance and beyond.

Would you like to know more about IE University’s work on diversity and inclusion? Click here.

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