Policy Diagnostic: Women in Leadership

April 23, 2024

This Policy Diagnostic on Women in Leadership underscores the importance of gender diversity in leadership positions within the financial sector and highlights persistent disparities in women’s representation. While research demonstrates the positive impact of women in top roles on financial performance, achieving gender parity remains a distant goal. Women’s World Banking advocates for policies and practices that facilitate women’s advancement into leadership roles, emphasizing the pivotal role of policymakers in fostering equitable environments.

The diagnostic reveals variations in women’s presence in leadership roles across countries, institutions, and positions. While progress has been observed in gender balance across various institutions, it remains inconsistent, with central banks and commercial banks exhibiting differing trends. Notably, women continue to be underrepresented in C-suite positions, with a significant proportion filling administrative roles. Efforts to address these disparities require comprehensive policy interventions targeting discrimination, harassment, and parental leave policies.

Recommendations for Policymakers include:

  • Ensuring supportive and non-discriminatory policies: Policymakers should establish anti-discrimination acts, mandate sexual harassment prevention training, and promote gender-neutral parental leave policies to support women’s wellbeing and equal childcare responsibilities.
  • Mandating gender diversity in leadership: Policymakers should enact mandates specifying minimum percentages of women in strategic leadership positions and publicly monitor progress to encourage institutions to increase gender diversity.
  • Encouraging pipeline development for women leaders: Policymakers can foster a pipeline of women leaders through professional development opportunities, internships, career coaching, and training programs addressing confidence and managerial skills.
  • Requiring gender-disaggregated data reporting: Policymakers should mandate companies to publicly report gender-disaggregated data on leadership teams, positions, pay, and promotions to monitor progress and incentivize transparency and accountability.

By implementing these recommendations, policymakers can advance gender diversity and equity in leadership positions within the financial sector, fostering a more inclusive and resilient industry.