Medianett to introduce directory to raise profile of women in FS

Trade publisher Medianett has announced that it is set to launch a directory later this year which aims to raise the profile of talented women in the financial services sector.

The announcement was made at a Women in Finance event jointly hosted by Brightstar Financial, LDNfinance and Medianett earlier this week.

The briefing kicked off with a talk from Clare Jupp, director of people development at Brightstar, who provided more clarity on the key responsibilities of Women in Finance Charter signatories, the importance of making the commitment and how companies can reach their goals.

The event also focused on the opportunities, benefits and real results of making the commitment from a lender signatory’s perspective with Sinead Moynihan, head of sales at Mint Bridging, and a discussion on complementary supportive initiatives from Medianett’s managing director Caron Schreuder.

Caron explained that as a publisher and event organiser, trying to get greater gender balance in the financial services sector was difficult.

She revealed that out of 23 large-scale financial services events that were held last year and early this year, there were 89 women to 391 men in terms of public-speaking representation.

In an attempt to put together a diverse conference programme at the Finance Professional Show last November, Caron managed to get 12 women to 16 men on panels, but explained it was “very difficult” and took double the amount of time to plan.

A study of almost 6,000 men and women on workplace culture conducted by the University of Cambridge revealed that almost three-quarters of female employees believed their workplace culture made it more challenging for women to advance their careers than men — and more than two in five men agreed.

Caron pointed out that there were less obvious ways in which women were affected when it came to progression.

“There is something which you may or may not know about called ‘benevolent sexism’, where people ‘protect’ you from opportunities and hold you back.”

When it comes to press coverage in our sector, in both print and online, it is a constant struggle to get comment or thought leadership from women, and the front covers and homepages from many publications, including Medianett’s, show a lack of representation as a result.

“We run three websites, a magazine and a trade show and, therefore, we can vouch for the fact that there is a problem in getting female representation,” Caron added.

“We are putting this down to an absence of representation and visibility and, as a consequence, it is resulting in a lack of confidence.

“While this may not be new information to you, what we are lacking in the sector is a practicable, demonstrable way of creating change that is workable to raise women up in finance.

“So, we are creating a women in finance directory,  which will be an online portal where women will be able to put themselves forward for opportunities.”

Women at every level in financial services will be able to input their details into the directory, which will break down their interests, goals, skills, experience and knowledge and what they are keen to be involved in.

This could include panels spots, speaking opportunities, published commentary, roundtables, committee spots and even job opportunities.

The directory — which has no costs attached to it — is designed to be used by event organisers, PR firms and news publications so that they can select women based on the fact that they have exercised a willingness to have a presence and raise their profile in a public way.

“You are in control of what you want to sign up to and what you don’t want to, so there is no obligation if you are on that list,” Caron explained.

“But the feeling that you get when someone contacts you based on your experience as an individual working in a firm, either in your personal or professional capacity, is hugely beneficial to your self-esteem and to what you will then be able to do within the ranks of your business.

“It is in everyone’s best interest to see a more balanced face of financial services.”

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