As we draw a close to International Women's Month, we look at the importance of women in the workplace and gender inequality in the industry, and we hear from FCI's leading female figures. The presence of women in the workplace has been increasingly vital in today’s world. Women bring unique strengths, skills, and perspectives to the business arena and provide invaluable contributions to business operations and growth. By having a gender balance in the workplace, businesses can experience the full potential of their workforce and tap into the benefits of diverse thinking.
The history of women in the workplace is fascinating, as it’s filled with ground-breaking and powerful figures. Historically, women had a more limited range of job opportunities available to them and often earned significantly lower salaries for the same job than men. Despite these limitations, many courageous women of the past paved the way for female business leaders of today by pushing for reforms in legislation, increasing female workforce representation in executive roles, and successfully pushing for more equitable gender roles in the business arena. Today, women are at the forefront of business leadership and the fight for gender equality in the workplace.
According to the 2022 Global Gender Gap Report (comparisons and analyses of 146 countries), 132 years are needed to solve the gender inequality problem. In 2021 the expected period was 136 years. So, there is an improvement. However, according to the report, no country has fully resolved the problem of gender inequality. The report also indicates that while the share of female leadership has increased over time, women have not been hired at equal rates across industries. On average, more women have been hired into leadership in sectors where women were already highly represented.
We asked FCI’s leading female figures to share their comments on this topic.
Daniela Bonzanini, FCI Chairwoman, said, “When I started my career, the finance industry used to be a very male-dominated space. Reaching a leading position required strong commitment and the will to overcome every challenge without ever giving up. I am pleased to see many young women entering the industry. I wish them all success and support and would like every day of the year to be the 8th of March.”
Betul Kurtulus, FCI Regional Director for CEE, SEE, and the Middle East, stated, “When we talk about gender equality, we cannot only talk about women's economic empowerment, and this is the contribution we need to make to make the world we live in a better one. Contributing to this is a moral imperative for all of us. Gender equality, in my opinion, is more about social and cultural development than economic support. Social and cultural investments always have positive economic results. Women in Trade finance can and must play a critical role in closing the gender gap in our industry. And we should work for gender equality in our sector and wherever we can touch any lives, from education to employment.”
Aysen Cetintas, FCI Education Director, explained, “Women have always been an integral part of the workplace and are continuing to make positive changes in many areas of the working world. Today, the situation has vastly improved. Women are not only working, but they are thriving in areas of business and politics, often exceeding their male counterparts in wages and taking on leadership roles. Even though there is still work to be done, I enjoy what I do every day, and I urge more women to join me.”
Monica Martin Blanco, FCI’s SCF Consultant, shared, “Throughout my long career, I have worked and have led multidisciplinary teams, which success has always depended on good blend of experiences but also of genders. Getting a complete SCF project implemented takes a lot of time and effort but always different skills, not only knowledge. The presence of women in these projects are of paramount importance as women always consider the human side on individuals, generating high level of empathy, which results in project success. To achieve success in a project, any team should resemble life as much as possible, and women are an indispensable part of it.”
Overall, the presence of women in the workplace is essential and cannot be overstated. Women bring with them a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and creativity to the table that make for a better work environment and overall better outcomes for society as a whole. As more and more women are welcomed into the workforce, the future of our world and of the economy is becoming brighter every day.