A call to Press For Progress
International Women’s Day was March 7, 2018. In celebration of that day, I had the pleasure of attending a Bloomberg panel event led by Emily Chang, the writer of Brotopia. The panel was especially compelling because the women on the panel were all leaders in finance and asset management. The Bloomberg event was also notable because all of the attendees were female leaders and Executives in Silicon Valley and Financial Institutions.
In particular, this panel came armed with very clear data on the disparities in gender equality. For example, they noted that only 4% of CEOs were women. Only 21% of seats on the S&P 500 are held by women. In Silicon Valley, the pay gap between women and men is five times the national average. Women hold 25% of the jobs in Silicon Valley but only get 2% of the venture capital money that is invested.
These numbers get worse when you look at underrepresented minorities. There are currently no African American female CEOs in the Fortune 500. Furthermore, the wage gap is real. Versus men, white women make $0.79 for every dollar a white man makes but it is worse for Latino women, who make only $0.54 to the dollar and African American women, who make $.063 on the dollar.
However, we also were inspired by the power of diversity and that this power could now be measured. The panel shared study data that showed that if one woman Executive is on a leadership team that profits increase by 3-8%. This is because diversity is good for risk mitigation and lowers the cost of capital. Those with all the same framework for decision making won’t see risks but if a team is diverse, risk is more likely to be seen. Furthermore, it was heartening to hear about Blackrock’s powerful Aladdin data tool that loaded diversity into its system and now can measure the profit impact of diversity. By the way, the panelists shared that this was the exact same powerful tool that WePay’s new parent company, JP Morgan Chase used to evaluate the acquisition of Bear Stearns.
Ultimately, because of the unique group of attendees, I felt the event became a call to action for women leaders on three key fronts
- Women leaders and especially those in Asset Management roles need to drive for change in companies they invest in and lead. They can drive home that diversity is a core strength that leads to better profit outcomes.
- Be yourself but take care of yourself. Most importantly, stay in the ranks so that we all keep growing.
- Mentor others – especially these leaders, every day, do something to give back to the next generation of women leaders
These takeaways inspired me and I hope to continue to drive for change and grow women leaders within and outside of WePay.