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April 4, 2010

MPs champion women in the City

by Gill Montia

Story link: MPs champion women in the City

The Treasury Committee has produced a new report that highlights the problems of the gender bias in the City.

Whilst acknowledging that the UK’s financial services sector is in need of both structural and regulatory reform, the Committee’s “Women in the City” report focuses on diversity and the need for challenge.

The study points out that in general, women are in the minority at senior levels in financial institutions—especially at the top: the boards of FTSE 100 banks are only 9% female and the proportion of women executive directors is even lower at 1% to 2%.

“The lack of diversity on the boards of many, if not most, of our major financial institutions, may have heightened the problems of ‘group-think’ and made effective challenge and scrutiny of executive decisions less effective”, the report states.

While dismissing the view that greater female representation at senior
levels would have made the banking crisis less likely, MPs argue that “a sector which is failing to properly utilise the talents of over half the population clearly has substantial room for improvement”.

The long-hours culture, the working environment and access to flexible working and family–friendly practices are named as reasons why women who want to progress are held back, and the Committee does not rule out new legislation to tackle the problems.


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