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Women In Finance: Time To Do Away With The Glass Ceiling More women are making their mark in the traditionally male-dominated finance industry, but they remain underrepresented in leadership positions.

By Madalina Rotaru

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For decades, finance has been considered the realm of men, even though women have always played an important role in this industry. While women from varying backgrounds have been making headway and breaking into the conventionally male-dominated sector for quite a while, they remain underrepresented in leadership roles.

The time is now ripe to recognize the vital contribution made by women to the growth of financial services around the world. In my roles as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Key Way Markets, the company operating CAPEX.com under the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) license, and as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Key Way Group, I regularly interact with many talented female professionals from different fields.

At CAPEX, we believe in tech-driven "out-of-the-box" initiatives, both for our hard-working staff and the company's growth. To that end, we especially focus on the development of more female leaders in every department/division.

Women In Finance

20 years ago, not many women would've been enthused about a career in finance. For one thing, young girls weren't encouraged to study subjects related to science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) topics in school, leading to a lower number of female entrants in the finance industry.

Moreover, there were few role models around, if any. Successful female business leaders who had started their careers in finance weren't well known, making it an unlikely choice for upcoming generations. And the ones who did venture into the field had to fight against decades-old gender stereotypes that made finding success more challenging.

I had to overcome my share of obstacles to break through the proverbial glass ceiling that deters so many women from achieving their career aspirations When I started, only a handful of women occupied key positions in this industry. But, I was determined to prove myself as a worthy contender to my male counterparts. And while the journey hasn't been without its obstacles, I was able to earn a prominent leadership position through hard work, passion, and determination.

In the future, I hope to see many more women achieve their goals and reach the top in this sector. Back in 2019, female representation on executive committees in major financial firms around the globe was a mere 20%. While this is an improvement on the 16% figure from 2016, it still isn't good enough. Gender parity remains a distant dream as of now.

Related: Embracing Gender Diversity In Entrepreneurship Across The Middle East

The numbers are getting better for sure. Women make up about half of the global financial services industry workforce today. However, more can be done to ensure that female staff is better represented when we look at senior positions. A lot of work also needs to be done to reduce the gender pay gap.

The Route To The Summit

My interest in financial services was sparked at a young age, and I began working as a Junior Associate at a brokerage house. This role helped me understand the workings of an investment company. I built up knowledge of various online trading functions, such as compliance, marketing, management, and regulation.

I was also fortunate to work across multiple departments, which enabled me to develop a diverse skill-set. Over time I grew from being a Back Office Agent to Head of Back Office Operations, and, subsequently, from COO to CEO.

As CEO of Key Way Markets Ltd, I manage the group's global operations, while also overseeing the entire workforce. The role has provided a rich insight into many exciting and progressive ecosystems from the east to the west, eventually leading me to Abu Dhabi, where CAPEX is setting up its newest location as part of an operational expansion plan for the Middle East.

Our target is to make online trading more accessible, rewarding, and secure across the region. I hope that more women take their place at the forefront of the finance secto, and shape the future of trading for an ever-changing digital world.

Finance: The Future Might Well Be Female!

Today's financial world is certainly different from what it was two decades ago. More women are now in leadership positions in global financial institutions, and they are playing an important role in driving the industry forward.

While challenges remain, organizations realize that they stand to lose out on financial opportunities by not tapping into the female talent pool at their disposal. After all, success in finance doesn't have anything to do with gender. Being proactive and analytical are the two most essential skills.

My message to young women is that they should proactively seek out opportunities in the field. Set a clear goal and then pursue that career path relentlessly. Hard work and perseverance never go unrewarded.

Tech-based solutions and services will define the future of finance. In the face of digital transformation, many seasoned professionals will find it hard to cope with the industry's growing technology footprint, which will end up leveling the playing field for all genders.

Herein lies the opportunity for women, which they can grab with both hands by balancing their digital savviness with technical know-how. Old stereotypes are vanishing in this age of disruption and innovation, which CAPEX.com is a part of. All that is required for success is a thirst for knowledge, determination, and focus.

Related: Reclaiming Our Voices: The Rise Of The Female Storytellers

Madalina Rotaru

CEO, Key Way Markets Ltd

Madalina Rotaru is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Key Way Markets Ltd, the operating company of leading global multi-license broker CAPEX.com, and Chief Operating Officer of Key Way Group Ltd. With extensive expertise and a wealth of experience in the financial services domain to draw upon, Madalina leads by example, playing an integral role in the company’s continued growth and development. 
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