It is a fact that women are underrepresented in the field of Finance. However, the future is bright for the businesswomen out there who follow their ambition instead of trying to fit into the male-dominated industry.
In the 21st century, women may have more equal professional opportunities than ever before. However, even today, there are still fields heavily dominated by males. According to the 2017 World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, one of the most underutilized business resources has been female talents. This is especially true in STEM industries. Finance is no exception. The report also points out that although there are approximately 46% female employees in the financial industry, only 15% (33% of the overall female population) makes it to the executive level.
However, to the young, aspiring businesswoman reading this article, do not be discouraged! Female executives who worked their way out to the Forbes Finance Council suggest that there is a bright future ahead for women planning to redefine the face of finance.
First of all, you may be wondering what makes finance such a male-dominated industry. Francesca Federico, a member of the Forbes Finance Council and the co-founder of Twelve Points Wealth Management, believes the reason is that there have not been many females in the field in the first place. Federico also admits that getting credibility in the field with middle-aged and older men has been one of her greatest professional challenges. Her colleague on the council, Keri Gohman, agrees. Gohman is the president of Xero Americas, a cloud-based SaaS accounting service provider. During her career, she has observed many aspiring businesswomen, including her younger self, wasting time and energy trying to fit into the male-dominated workplace. Because of this, Gohman chose to redirect her strength back to her unique vision in the field of investing and accounting.
“When you take all of the energy spent on fitting into a narrow box and unleash that on your work — magic happens,” she said. “When I allowed myself to be the boldest version of myself, I realized I was more willing to take risks, to be more powerful — and my true capacity was unleashed.”
As the saying goes, where there are challenges, there are also opportunities. The gender gap should not be seen as a stumbling block. The male-dominated environment is where female business professionals can be distinctive from the majority. The finance industry is a place women get to empower themselves and each other by making a difference. Every female financial leader on the Forbes Finance Council has distinguished ways of positively impacting society. For instance, Danielle Kunkle, CEO of the insurance agency Boomer Benefits, educates thousands of people on personal finance every year. She loves to receive thank-you emails after each of her webinars because they always help her remember the people she helped and the impact she made. Jade Sullivan, the co-founder of Pogo Insurance, works with small business owners by introducing them to their ideal insurance at the best price. She loves her capability of assisting entrepreneurs like herself in dealing with infuriating business problems. Moreover, Sullivan offers advice to other businesswomen who aspire to succeed in the financial industry. She encourages them to change things or develop new ideas even though there is a long way to go. Eventually, it will be worth it.
Last but not least, sometimes it might be difficult for businesswomen to commit to entrepreneurship or a career due to society’s traditional expectations or their family responsibilities. Binna Kim, the co-founder of integrated financial and marketing firm Vested, thinks otherwise. She encourages women in the finance industry to be unapologetic and always fight for what one deserves. A woman can have a family while growing her career. We do not have to prioritize one over the other.
There is a bright future for women in finance. Although we cannot deny the existence of the gender gap, the female business leaders on the Forbes Finance Council are breaking new ground. Their success proves that there are opportunities for businesswomen who are willing to be the pioneer of their ideas. Never should we waste our talents on fitting into a narrow box. Instead, we should be bold, be ambitious, be creative, and be making our own path.