Banking

Shattering the Glass Ceiling in the Banking Sector

The saying"Once a glass ceiling is broken, it stays broken", goes best for the women who have
Shattering the Glass Ceiling in the Banking Sector
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Managing Director - Mashreq Global Services
4 min read
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A ‘glass ceiling’, often synonymous with women, is used to refer to an invisible encumbrance that seems to exist in many fields, preventing women from achieving higher positions, especially in the world of business.

The term was coined by Nora Frenkiel in 1984, and today, more than 30 years later, women are experiencing a sense of progress, be it in the form of work and positions they are offered or the different opportunities they are exposed to.

Historically, the world of finance and banking has been viewed as a male bulwark. The banking sector remained largely male-dominated. A bias towards men over women in the workplace, both in terms of hiring and salaries offered, persisted. But the times are finally changing for women, and how!

The advancement of women in banking has been a rising trend in recent years. We have more women rising to top positions in the banking industry. The industry has made great strides in seeing women achieve successful careers. But the standard started so low that they still have a long way to go. That, however, does not stop them from changing the financial game.

For a country which places boys above girls and where many women decide to quit work after marriage and childbirth, there has been an astonishing rise of women leaders across financial institutions.

India as a growing economy foresees more work opportunities in the banking sector, and with liberalized reforms and women-friendly environment, the country is not only weakening the deep-rooted male domination in the area but is also attracting more women employees.

Becoming the Face of Social Change

There are more women heading either banks or insurance companies and many others heading other companies from varied industries. This has been quite an exceptional phenomenon for any emerging nation.

A tenacious increase in the percentage of women employees in top positions shows a positive sign of cracking of the glass ceiling, where they no longer encounter hindrances on their way to positions of authority.

Taking on Leadership Roles

Companies are transforming how they manage their workforces, and women in C-suite human resources positions are making their way. HR is also the only leadership role which is predominantly held by women, especially in the financial and banking sector. Although women are still outnumbered by their male equivalents at top levels, several positive indicators suggest that the needle is surely moving.

Overcoming Challenges

Despite the fact that women have come a long way in the banking sector, they still have to face many complex challenges as compared to men but it does not stop them from moving up the ladder. They are now susceptible to taking risks, knowing and communicating their worth out loud.

Changing Workplace Culture

Organisations are increasingly becoming aware that their diversity and inclusion initiatives will go in vain if they do not address the issue of gender inequality at work. Workplaces which gain a reputation for their diversity and inclusion are generally preferred over other companies and receive a greater pool of talent to choose from. In the banking sector, in particular, there is a growing recognition of the importance of diversity. More financial services companies now assert a commitment to gender diversity, given that more than half of women control their household finances and are responsible for household savings and investing.

Various international banks and their back offices are now open to recruiting more women and work towards creating a female-friendly environment by promoting family-friendly and flexible work policies, and generous maternity benefits.

While women are increasingly making their mark in the banking sector, breaking the glass ceiling still isn’t an easy feat but once it is achieved, there is no going back because a glass ceiling once broken, stays broken.

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