Companies that signing up pledge to support the progression of women into senior roles in financial services and set internal targets to improve diversity and publicly report on progress.
The annual review of the charter was published this week and found that 78 per cent of firms are already meeting or are on track to meet their targets to see more women in the boardroom, up 5 per cent on last year, and almost half of firms have committed to have 40 per cent of their boardroom made up of women.
The fifth annual report found the average level of female representation in senior management within the industry has remained flat at 33 per cent in 2022 compared to 2021, although two-thirds of signatories either increased or maintained their proportion of women in senior management.
John Glen (pictured), economic secretary to the Treasury, said: “Diverse representation and gender equality in the financial services sector is good for business, good for investors and reduces barriers to growth and enterprise.
“I welcome this year’s progress, but settings targets is just one part of the process – I am today calling on firms double-down on their to commitments and continue to deliver greater gender-equality in the workplace.”
Amanda Blanc chief executive of Aviva and Women in Finance Champion, said: “I am concerned to see progress stagnating. Frankly, up to now there has been too much tinkering at the edges and not enough fundamental change. Be in no doubt, major change in this area is tough – but it’s crucial we get it right. There are some glimmers of hope with more ambitious targets being set and met. But for the sake of women, companies and society, we’ve got to work quicker and harder.”
The Women in Finance Charter was established in 2016 and is aimed at enhancing gender equality at all levels across financial services firms, in recognition that a balanced workforce is good for businesses good for customers – and is increasingly attractive to investors.
It is a voluntary commitment, ensuring firms set out clear targets to see greater representation of women in boardrooms and the annual review assesses progress among signatories to date, and how firms are delivering against their targets.
Now in its sixth year, the government will continue working with industry to achieve meaningful progress to create a world-leading financial services industry which champions diversity, innovation and reduces barriers to growth and enterprise.