By Lazetta Rainey Braxton, MBA, CFP® and Rianka R. Dorsainvil, CFP®
Celebrating women in the financial planning profession represents an intentional way of life for us. As female owners of a fee-only financial planning firm, we join countless women who desire to be honored and valued for our contributions to the profession and society. March’s Women’s History Month offers special time for us to collectively pay tribute to each other and hold the spotlight for 31 days. We are cheering for all women; the world needs more of our voices and values. According to Oliver Wyman’s Women in Financial Services 2020 report, gender diversity in financial services is improving, with 20% representation of women on executive committees and 23% on boards… we can certainly do better than that!
Assessing the Current Outlook
A 2019 Deloitte Insights article, “Within reach? Achieving gender equity in financial services leadership” provided some levity, sharing the following statistics:
In 2019, the proportion of women in leadership roles within financial services firms is 21.9 percent, which is projected to grow to 31 percent by 2030—still below parity.
At an organizational level, our analysis reflects that across financial services organizations, for each additional woman added to the C-suite, the number of women in senior leadership roles rose threefold.
Among the key challenges that could impact succession, the percentage of women in senior leadership roles has not kept pace with those in the C-suite, and this gap has widened since 2010.
Strategies for improving leadership outcomes for women should be multifaceted and inclusive.
But, of course the pandemic did us no favors with many women, especially women of color, having to retreat from work to fill an essential caregiver role for children and oftentimes older generations, too.
That’s why we’re SO thrilled to have some amazing industry role models who are currently leading the way on gender and diversity parity in the industry.
We’re Currently Fangirling On...
We love to highlight the amazing talent rising the ranks in our industry - and celebrate how they are helping to move future generations forward!
Mellody Hobson, president, co-CEO and Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Ariel Investments and, now tapped as Board Head of Starbucks, making her the only Black woman to Chair an S&P 500 company. Amazing! A true mover and shaker, Mellody shares, “The first step to solving any problem is to not hide from it, and the first step to any form of action is awareness.”
We can’t stop cheering for Thasunda Duckett, named only the second Black women CEO of a Fortune 500 company, at TIAA just recently. On her humble upbringings and what motivates her, Thasunda shares, “When you know what it’s like to look in the refrigerator and just see baking soda, or know what it’s like to have your lights turned off, personal finance is important.”
And finally, Cynthia Loh, Vice President of Digital Advice at Schwab, says “It’s our obligation to future generations to lower costs and other barriers to entry so that more people can feel confident in their financial futures..”
Need Some Advice?
The great news is that there are many resources available for women looking to enter the financial planning profession.
Anna N’Jie-Konte, MBA, CFP, holds a one-hour monthly virtual open session, “Future of Financial Advice Office Hours” for any women looking for advice and guidance on how to enter the industry. Register at: https://bit.ly/3qJLD3T.
Another advocate for diversity in the industry comes from fellow Financial Planner, Danika Waddell, CFP, CSLP. Find her on Twitter regularly offering information on the importance of being sensitive to LGBTQ gender pronouns and imposter syndrome of women in the workplace.
Keep It Going
Wealth continues to diversify, and women are an integral part in moving the profession on a more holistic and equitable path forward.
We need you!
Whether chatting online with an expert or a friend in the field, attending a virtual networking session, or being a megaphone for your colleagues' successes… keep it going!