Women and Private Equity: we are only at the beginning

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Women’s rights have been high on the agenda in the past 12 months, and this week, with International Women’s Day, we highlight both the achievements and celebrate how far we have come, as well as recognising how far we have yet to go.

The world of finance has been a slow proponent to women’s equality and, despite the emergence of groups such as Level 20 and events such as the BVCA Women in PE Breakfast, women still only represent 10% of executive committees within Private Equity. That’s over 10% below the European corporate average.

It is proven that mixed gender teams attract more investment and generate better opportunities for business. Companies that allow and encourage diversity and inclusivity are easily associated with innovation, boost in revenue, shareholder value and employee retention.

As the global economy recovers, there isn’t a better moment for this change. Governments and companies need to develop strategies for long-term improvements toward equality, opening opportunities for women to grow and expand their potential. It’s simply the right thing to do.

onefourzero (and sister company GK) is proud to have 50% of staff female, and the figure is even higher for senior positions.

“We at onefourzero believe that the best person should be hired for the job, regardless of creed, colour or gender. And we practise what we preach” said Fleur Hicks, Managing Director of onefourzero.

Unfortunately, we are still an exception in a very conservative industry.

In the UK, 73% of entry-level jobs are occupied by women – but, on senior positions, only 34% of staff are female. In the finance industry, this figure is even lower, about 20%. Despite recent efforts towards equality, data shows that change simply isn’t substantive yet.

Last month the Real Deals Mid-Market Conference dedicated a full panel about diversity and discussed successful efforts in creating and maintaining an equal work environment as something to aspire to. Add to this the Women in Finance Charter, an initiative by the government to promote gender balance across financial companies, and we can see that those fighting for equality are maintaining pressure on government and companies alike.

That’s why it’s important to keep the conversation alive as the challenge remains not only to improve the present, but also to ensure that policies and strategies set now are powerful enough to keep us from taking steps back.

GK’s Associate Director Martin Summers wrote an excellent article on how to pursue diversity credibly and effectively – check it out.

On this International Women’s Day, onefourzero and GK launched a series of videos with some of our colleagues talking about gender equality and women in business. Watch on our YouTube channel.

To find out how onefourzero can help you identify opportunities for growth and potential risks, click here or contact fleur@onefourzerogroup.com