Inspired by the latest talk about gender equality within the finance industry, the women of The Bridging Group had a discussion on the topic to determine how working in the male-dominated industry has affected them personally.
Sarah Bennett, Key Account Manager
As a female working for over 20 years in the – very male dominated – financial services industry, my experiences were not brilliant initially.
Having gained both my Mortgage Adviser’s qualification and Financial Planning Certificate, I was excited to attend my first conference as a Mortgage Broker, dressed in my new suit. Unfortunately, shortly after arriving, I was mistaken for a waitress by a fellow attendee.
I am lucky to have worked for companies, during my career, where women have been treated fairly – with pay, responsibilities, attitudes, etc. I would not be comfortable being employed by a company where there were issues in terms of equality.
At TBG, even though we are a relatively small company, we are extremely diverse, but whenever big decisions are made, we all have our parts to play, so none of us are left out.
I would love to get to a point where the industry is more equal in general. I hope to see it in the foreseeable future, as my 17-year-old niece decided to do her work experience with me and wants to study Financial Services at University. And while I’m pleased with her choice, I’d also like her to end up in a workplace she’s as respected and paid as much as her male colleagues.
Martyna Marklowska, Marketing Executive
Although I had worked in a different branch of financial services previously, it was still a male-dominated world. And I could feel it on my skin. I had encountered disproportions in treatment and pay. There also have been discrepancies that were too small for me to notice, and it is only now that I can see them from the perspective of a woman in an accepting workplace.
While working as the telemarketer (before my promotion to the Digital Marketing Executive), sometimes the men I spoke to automatically assumed that our BDMs were male. Being in the position to choose, I’ve forwarded those cases to my female colleagues. Not only to bring them down a peg but also to emphasise that our team is more diverse than they’d presumed.
I have noticed changes in gender equality in general, but there is much more to be done.
Sheetal Patel, Case Manager
I have worked in several industries in my 20+ year career. My experiences of being a woman working in male-dominated industries have varied over the years. Whilst I have been fortunate to work for companies where there has been equality, I have also been expected to be the organiser and refreshment-provider by default because of my gender. I have experienced being cut out of new projects and career development opportunities simply because I wasn’t one of boys. Later in my career, and as a working mother with a baby, I felt I had to work harder to justify my place in the business. This was despite having a strong work ethic with a clear track record.
At TBG, we have an open dialogue with a diverse team. Everybody has a voice and an important part to play. We all have equal flexibility and responsibility for ourselves and our performance. I look forward to the day when this diversity and equality is reflected within the financial services industry overall.