Women in finance feel ignored by ‘mediocre’ male co-workers, study finds

Women in finance feel ignored by ‘mediocre’ male co-workers, study finds

Some 44 of the women in the study were interviewed, some of which said they felt that their “high performance was more regularly discounted as compared to men.”  It was produced by U.K. not-for-profit Women in Banking and Finance, sponsored by major financial firms including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and BlackRock, and was published Wednesday. 

Other women said they felt they were treated differently when making mistakes.  WIBF also said that “what was striking about the conversations was that the headwinds and tailwinds they faced were not different to the remaining 33 women.” 

Of the women interviewed, 11 were Black. WIBF said in the report that Black women were “strategically over-sampled given they are the group whose progression in the sector is notably slow and cannot be explained away.”  “Rather the headwinds were more intense and the tailwinds fewer,” the report added. 

The women interviewed attributed this to a number of factors, including these men being part of a “social club where other members are gatekeepers with power.  Many believed they were either labeled “competent or incompetent on their ability,” yet there was a “much bigger distribution of perceived ability among their male colleagues, with ‘mediocre’ men being mentioned explicitly by 22 women.” 

More broadly, some of the women interviewed also felt they had to be innovative to succeed, while men were “often welcomed on traditional career pathways.”  Some of Black women interviewed also highlighted this theme of “mediocre” male co-workers, with some saying that they felt as if they had to perform better than both men and white women “by a specific margin to get the same recognition.” 

It also found than less than half had met the U.K. target for having 33% women on boards.  Indeed, a separate report by Women on Boards U.K., also released on Wednesday, highlighted that 37% of the 261 small companies listed in the U.K. below the FTSE 350 had one or no female directors.  The women surveyed also spoke of encountering managers who talked about caring about equality but that their “walk didn’t match the talk,” indicating a lack of authenticity. 

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