According to its female Balance Index, the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF) estimates it will take 140 years to reach female parity in senior leadership. Learn about the report and gender imbalance in leadership.

At the publication of the 10th edition of its “Gender Balance Index,” the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF) stated that, at the current rate of development, it will take 140 years to achieve gender parity in senior leadership positions.

The gender balance index tracks senior women in 186 central banks, international sovereign funds, commercial banks, and public pension funds. It ranks institutions by women in top management or boards. The GBI thinks that sharing these numbers would motivate decision-makers to better assist and track women.

A startling 140-year record, only 14% of the 336 organizations in the survey are run by women. Conversations around gender equity and equality in the financial services industry have stalled in recent years. 13.7% of the institutions in the gender balance index had female leaders in 2022, an increase of 0.3% from the previous year. 13.3% of women were in these roles in 2021.

Some of the numbers highlighted by OMFIF’s index made for better reading despite the poor growth at the top. Women made up 30% of the 6,221 senior staff members across all institutions in the index and 24% of the deputy governors and C-suite personnel in these institutions.

OMFIF discovered higher numbers lower down the ladder, although statistics suggest that men continue to predominate in C-suite positions. The problems also do not seem to get better, as evidenced by the nearly halving of women in higher roles.

Is development really slowing down?

There are now 22 women running central banks, including the European Central Bank and regional Federal Reserve banks. OMFIF acknowledges that this is the most entries since the GBI’s debut edition ten years ago, yet there are just one more than there were in 2014.

This information can indicate that development is actually sluggish. Only four (13%) of the 32 central banks that changed their leadership over the past year did so with the appointment of women. The 2022 index listed six women as governors of central banks, or 23% of the 26 changes. The issue is further underscored by the fact that 11% of central banks still do not have any women in senior staff positions.

The financial services industry’s culture

Clive Horwood, managing editor and deputy chief executive of OMFIF, highlighted the importance of senior women having the opportunity to reach the top of their institutions, which is a crucial indicator of gender balance. While there are no simple solutions to the problem of delayed development, a proactive approach could be helpful. However, research suggests that factors such as parental leave regulations, quotas, and mentorship programs have little impact on gender balance.

The key to success may lie in the culture of the institution and the broader society in which it operates. Having female leaders can have a significant influence, but it’s important to recognize their abilities and accomplishments rather than solely their gender. Only then can financial services achieve a properly balanced culture.

Gender Balance Index
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