This is the introductory speech given by Jean Hilgers at the Belgian Financial Forum Colloquium “Gender in finance: why diversity matters” in Brussels on June 17, 2019
The topic of gender diversity, and of diversity and inclusion in general, is not new, on the contrary. Today, even more than before, it continues to be very pertinent and important.
In my experience, the topic of inclusive leadership and diversity has gained in importance because the challenges facing the financial sector can be best addressed by balanced and diverse teams.
Interview with Alexander De Croo, key-note speaker at the Belgian Financial Forum colloquium “Gender in finance; why diversity matters” in Brussels on June 17, 2019.
Interview with Dirk Van Gerven, key-note speaker at the Belgian Financial Forum colloquium “Gender in finance: why diversity matters” in Brussels on June 17, 2019.
In most European countries, women represent around fifty percent of all bank employees. This is surprising for most people, as the banking world, at the same time, still has a very masculine image. And indeed, when looking at the gender mix at the different hierarchical levels, we see that at Senior Management level less than 20% are women. Still, a large part of the financial world, especially in Belgium, did not yet act significantly to improve gender balance. It is to help implement this change that Women in Finance was launched, a year ago.
With the launch of "Women in Finance", Belgium is finally acquiring an instrument to raise awareness about the strategic importance of corporate gender equality in the financial sector for its performance, as well as for the country's economic health and for the building of a more egalitarian society. Financial institutions are at the heart of the capitalist system. Their sustainability and sense of responsibility are two essential factors in the well-being of our community.
Interview with Marcia De wachter, panel member at the Belgian Financial Forum colloquium “Gender in finance: why diversity matters” in Brussels on June 17, 2019.
The fact that gender diversity in companies is clearly on today’s business agenda is as pleasing as it is encouraging. Over the past three years, countless consultancies have researched the benefits of gender diversity, many opinion leaders have published ‘open letters’ on the topic and various industry groups have launched ‘charter’ to commit to it.
Now that this all-important topic is on the radar, time has come to walk the talk.
We have noticed that extra financial criteria like environmental and social issues can make the difference in your valuation process. Next to climate change we see a huge impact of the social criteria like ‘diversity and gender equality’.