Although women are just as capable as men in finance careers, historically, the finance industry has been male-dominated. While gender equity in similar fields has improved to some degree in recent decades, finance has continued to lag behind.
That doesn’t need to be the case forever. From finance student scholarships to non-profit programs advertising the benefits of a career in finance to young girls, many resources are serving to slowly help women gain a more prominent foothold in the industry. Consider the following examples:
Girls Who Invest
Although women in high-level finance positions are few and far between when compared to men, they aren’t nonexistent. For instance, Seema Hingorani is a prominent managing director at Morgan Stanley Investment Management.
She’s also the founder of Girls Who Invest. Recognizing that women were often kept out of portfolio management and executive positions at financial institutions, Hingorani decided to create a non-profit that would equip young women with the skills necessary to thrive in this industry.
Girls Who Invest primarily achieves its goal by enrolling female college students in a 10-week intensive summer program designed to provide a “crash course” in the essentials of finance education and management. In addition to the in-person summer program, Girls Who Invest also offers an online program.
Although Girls Who Invest is a young organization, having been founded in 2015, as of 2021, it’s already served more than 800 women. About five hundred have completed the summer program and 300 have completed the online program. Nearly 30% of all women who’ve completed these programs belong to historically underrepresented minority groups. As the non-profit continues to grow, it may play a major role in correcting the gender disparity in the finance industry.
Along with non-profits like Girls Who Invest, several university-backed programs supporting women in finance have begun to emerge in recent years.
For example, at Boston’s Suffolk University, several female finance majors have started Fintech Women USA. This club has two primary goals: to connect female students with opportunities in the financial technology sector, and to help them navigate the unique challenges that women in finance often encounter when first seeking jobs.
The Suffolk University chapter of Fintech Women USA is the first of its kind. However, its president, Laura Velez, has expressed a desire to establish chapters at other universities throughout the country.
It’s also worth noting that Fintech Women USA members don’t necessarily need to be finance majors to join. Many women who could potentially succeed in finance nevertheless choose not to study it because they’re aware of the barriers women must overcome in this field. Thus, according to Ilda Ascic, treasurer of the Suffolk University chapter of Fintech Women USA, “We are welcoming everyone who wants to learn more, whether they have prior knowledge of fintech or if they are just starting and want to get their foot in the door of the world of fintech.”
None of this is meant to downplay the struggles women still face. To the contrary, student organizations and non-profits of this nature serve to highlight the degree to which women struggle to climb the ladder in this male-centric industry. The very existence of a club such as Fintech Women USA is evidence that major change must happen for women to genuinely achieve equal status with their male peers in finance.
Luckily, through intensive programs, scholarships, networking events, college organizations, and more, ambitious young women interested in finance now have a better chance of realizing their career goals.