Congratulations to all those shortlisted for the Women in Finance Awards UK 2021. While gender diversity in financial services is improving, with women now at 43% of the workforce, an imbalance at the top levels of organisations remains.
There are still too few women in decision-making positions, leaving the industry at risk of promoting diversity without real inclusion, causing a bottleneck of female talent who aren’t progressing to senior roles.
Acknowledging role models within underrepresented workplace groups helps raise awareness about inequity. This is true for women in financial services, which makes the Women in Finance Awards so important.
Now in its fifth year, the awards celebrate advocates, role models, and allies who are working to shift the dial towards gender inclusion across the entire financial services sector.
Yet, women are not a homogenous group, nor do they require a one-off helping hand but long-term support. Hence, the judges wanted applicants to prove diverse forms of support such as creating career opportunities for disabled talent, shifting company culture, supporting ethnic minority staff, and dealing with the gender pay gap.
Ahead of its in-person ceremony on November 24th, 2021, a snapshot of the shortlist can be found below, where award highlights are Woman and DEI Initiative of the Year.
Awards for diversity and inclusion, and criteria for finalists
For an awards ceremony that acknowledges and supports the contributions of women in financial services, the Woman of the Year award, sponsored by software firm Sage, is one of the most important categories.
The judges’ comments suggest that the winner will have real-life examples of how they’ve encouraged diversity into the sector, as well as being a successful business leader and role model.
According to their criteria, the Woman of the Year will be “a woman who has demonstrated the highest degree of excellence, innovation, and leadership in their role in the last year and shone a light on the great things women in financial services can achieve.”
They continued: “This inspiring leader will have challenged, influenced, or revolutionised the culture of the financial services sector. In their submission, nominees should not only have demonstrated outstanding business achievements but should also give examples of how they have actively sought to bring more diversity to the financial services industry.”
Women in Finance Awards shortlist
The finalists are:
Anne Richards, Fidelity International
Anya Navidski, Voulez Capital
Claire McDonald, HDI Global
Ijeoma Okoli, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
Julia Streets, Streets Consulting
Monique Brown, BlueBay Asset Management
Noreen Biddle Shah, Numis Securities Ltd
Ranu Sharma, MasterCard
Sarah Carroll, MUFG
Vivienne Artz OBE, London Stock Exchange Group
To increase female representation at all levels in financial services, firms must re-focus and develop their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) strategies to create change. This makes the DEI Initiative of the Year award, sponsored by investment company abrdn, a vital addition to the ceremony’s award categories.
The criteria for finalists says: “This award category is open to organisations that have undertaken a specific initiative that has been established to promote diversity, equity and inclusion within their organisation or the wider community. These could involve gender pay gap, paternal leave, greater support for BAME and LGBT+ professionals, greater opportunities for people with disabilities, etc. Judges will assess commitment to the cause, awareness raised, impact on the organisation and industry, and ultimate results of the initiative. Submissions should include the name of the initiative.”
The finalists are:
EMEA Discovery Programme, Blackstone
Ethnic Diversity and Inclusion, The Bank of England
IT’s Her Future (IHF), KPMG UK
Reinvigorate Inspire Support and Equip (RISE), BNP Paribas
Same Difference, Synechron
The NatWest Gender Network, NatWest Group
Women, like other underrepresented groups, can benefit from allyship in their equality journey. This is why the Male Ally of the Year award features as a category in the Women in Finance Awards.
Sponsored by Deutsche Bank, finalists for the award are described as “a senior male figure who has gone out of his way to improve the diversity levels of women in finance, within the organisation and wider community. Successful nominations must provide case studies or examples of how the candidate has gone out of his way, or strategically prioritised, getting more women into finance and supporting them in their careers.”
The shortlist includes:
Abe Tilling, NatWest
Paul Kilpatrick, Brewin Dolphin
Vivek-Anand Dattani, Trepp
Will German, Homes England