Committee 2016 / 17
I first became aware of the stigma surrounding women in finance, having been the only female in a class studying Economics at A-level. Naturally, this gender imbalance is being carried through to university with a majority male assembly of students pursuing financed based courses and thus going into and advancing within this industry.
I believe that gender diversity across all industries is important. However, as a female interested in pursuing a career within the financial sector, I have found that although it is universally acknowledged that women face unique barriers to professional success and advancement within the financial services market, many people (myself included) do not believe that this should simply be accepted. This passion for gender diversity is what lead me to founding ‘The University of Bristol’s Women in Finance Society’ with the help of two fellow female students throughout our first year studies. My hope is that in providing support, guidance and both a professional and social network for our members, we can break down this stigma and equip them with the confidence and skills necessary to thrive as equally and as brightly as their male counterparts within this arena.
My passion for gender equality stems from my mother who is an engineer; she is the only female in her office. While attending university she completed a year in industry, being one of only two females there. Earlier, she completed A- levels in Maths and three sciences, likewise she was one of a handful of women pursuing these options. Suffice to say my own experience is similar. Although nobody ever stopped our female peers from pursuing a male dominated career, few ever encouraged or helped to equip them for future challenges. This is inevitably where the problem lies, hence where my hope for the society lies too.
My hope for the society is to give talented women the foundations and confidence in their own skills to deliver to their full potential while being an anomaly in a male dominated sector. I feel a practical solution is key; I want to see that the society provides real-world advice and opportunities in order to equip capable women for a bright and equal future.
Having an older brother and father who were extremely passionate about sport exposed me from a very young age to male dominated arenas. This led to me participating in a range of sports in spite of them being stigmatized as male sports. For example I was the only girl on the cricket team, whilst also playing football and rugby. It is the confidence instilled by my family in my own ability that encouraged me to pursue my interests and my hope is that by developing this society I can do the same for females wanting to pursue a career with the financial sector.
I personally believe that the gender imbalance within this sector is a result of female’s lack of confidence. The majority of corporations embrace diversity and are gradually increasing the number of females on their board of directors. Therefore I strongly believe that by creating a society of like-minded, motivated individuals hoping to pursue a career in the financial sector, we can support, encourage and instill confidence in each other allowing, females to reach their vast potential.