Businesses back gender equality

Businesses back gender equality

Some of the world’s largest financial services firms have signed up to a new government charter designed to improve gender diversity in senior positions within the sector.

A total of 72 firms have signed up to the charter, employing over half a million people spanning across the breadth of the financial services sector.

Insurers are leading the charge with over 15 firms committed to the charter, including the two largest insurance companies in the UK.

A number of retail banks, asset managers and mutuals have also pledged to improve gender diversity in their companies, with specialist industries such as FinTech also represented.

The Women in Finance Charter commits financial service firms to link the remuneration packages of their executive teams to gender diversity targets.

It also commits firms to set internal targets for gender diversity in their senior management, publish progress reports annually against these targets, and to appoint a senior executive responsible for gender diversity and inclusion.

Harriett Baldwin, the economic secretary to the treasury, said: “It is fantastic that 72 firms have signed up to the Women in Finance charter.

“By signing the charter, firms are committing to driving change at the senior levels of the male-dominated financial services industry.

“Such widespread commitment to the charter will make a genuine difference to gender diversity in financial services and I am delighted to celebrate this today.

“This is just one part of the government’s broader ambition to tackle gender inequality in the workplace and ensure that women everywhere are able to fulfil their potential.”

Jayne-Anne Gadhia, the chief executive of Virgin Money, added: “I am delighted by the large number of financial services firms who have signed the HMT Women in Finance Charter.

“They include firms from across the UK financial services sector, with large investment banks, retail banks, asset managers and insurers amongst the signatories.

“I am convinced that the large number, as well as the diversity of firms who have signed the charter, marks a significant turning-point in the battle for a more balanced and fair industry.

“It demonstrates that a growing number of chief executives and boards within the sector are taking the issue seriously and recognise the strong link between greater gender balance and improved productivity and performance.”

The charter signatories were unveiled this morning (11 July) at the London Stock Exchange where the economic secretary opened the markets to mark the success of the charter.