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Women's Financial Empowerment

Women in Finance: The 3 Obstacles Blocking You From Success

Women abound in finance — in fact they make up almost 50 percent of all employees in finance and insurance. But go up a couple of levels and what do you see? Very few women. Statistics reveal only 9 percent to be in venture capital, 6 percent in private equity, 3 percent in Hedge funds and 20 percent overall in financial services.

What’s blocking the movement upward? There are three key barriers.

1. You

Yes, you. One of the top barriers to women advancing is their belief that they aren’t [capable], [ready], [good enough], [insert your favorite reason why not here]. We’ve spoken to over 2,500 women about their careers and what we find is that most women have been socialized to feel they aren’t entitled to pursue a career as the primary purpose of their lives. Further, if they want a substantial career, women often expect that they have to sacrifice having a family or a personal life. It’s either/or. Either I can have a family or I can have a career.

  • The solution:
  • Women can reframe their assumptions. Ex: “Actually, I am good enough as I am and I am learning.”

2. Leadership

Leadership just doesn’t understand. Most senior leaders believe that the only path to the top is the one they took. This gets reinforced and becomes reality, which means people in leadership are generally cut from the same cloth. The result? A lack of innovation.

  • The solution:
  • Leadership can open more paths to the top and showcase these widely.

3. Lack of support

Women often take on more and more work without asking for help. And the external biases mean that women (and men) that ask for more support are often looked at as being “less” worthy of promotion.

  • The solution:
  • Individuals and leaders can recognize that asking and giving support means that people understand how to meet organizational goals most effectively.

Put simply, these barriers aren’t in concrete. They are mindsets. To move the barrier, change the mindset.

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