No, not the record-breaking heat that has resulted in men all over the UK finding a way of making shorts look acceptable in the workplace, but the social media explosion surrounding the announcement of the finalists in the Women’s Recognition Awards.
Leading figureheads have been outspoken about their views on this provocative, taboo subject and the Twitter eruption that ensued has made this perhaps one of the most talked about subjects of my 20 years in this industry.
Whether we care to admit it or not, the mortgage industry has been hugely male-orientated, but the last decade has seen appointments in key roles, that have shown the industry is not a sexist environment, and such appointments have been based on merit, not gender.
We find ourselves in a sector that I believe is trying to tackle this head on, and this is something that has been long overdue.
Reward and promote hard work
The announcement of the finalists for the Women’s Recognition Awards has been met with mixed views.
I am of the belief that it shows the commitment of the industry to acclaim, reward and promote the hard work that has been done by the women of our sector and I congratulate everyone who has been shortlisted.
To be shortlisted for any award is a huge achievement, and I believe this will be the catalyst of great success to those that have been shortlisted.
However, it has sparked the debate that the very notion of Women’s Recognition Awards is a step back rather than forward, by creating a segregation of gender in the first place.
To an extent I can see the merits of this point, but for me we are trying too hard to find a problem, when we should be simply applauding and praising those that have been successfully nominated and shortlisted.
For those that know me, it is no secret that I enjoy an awards evening. At all events, I have seen the huge success that has been enjoyed by Maria Harris, Esther Dijkstra, Louisa Sedgwick, Amanda Fenner and Clare Jupp to name but a few.
Huge success at huge awards by hugely influential people in our industry.
I am sure that all would agree, success breeds success, and the nomination of all those shortlisted for the Women Recognition Awards, will act as a catalyst to excel in our industry and only make the candidates stronger.
The acclaim that comes with the nomination will drive the nominees to be the best they can be and I struggle to see how this can be a bad thing.
Break down barriers
Our industry is trying to break down the barriers of inequality, and for me these awards are doing just that.
It is easy for me to say as a man, I know, but ask any of those nominated and shortlisted for the WRAs and I am sure none would request to be removed from the shortlist.
These awards act as recognition of achievement and I hope they will be viewed as such.
I wish all of the women nominated the very best of luck.
All have contributed hugely to this industry and that is what we should be focusing on here – the contribution made by all to our industry that is trying its hardest to combat inequality, by raising awareness and for rewarding the positive contributions that these women have made.
Mortgage Solutions is a signatory to the Women in Finance Charter and organises the Women’s Executive Finance Forum.