Women's Voice: How can we achieve gender equality in the financial space?
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Women’s Voice: How can we achieve gender equality in the financial space?

Women’s Voice: How can we achieve gender equality in the financial space?

There is a lot of work that can be done by organisations to ensure more women are being considered for jobs and promotions

I think that the underrepresentation of women in private banking, and in the financial sector in general, might be partially explained by the different attitude women and men have towards perfectionism.

Women are often more self-critical, thorough and by the book – according to a Harvard Business Review study, men apply for a job if they meet 60 per cent of the qualifications while women apply only if they meet 100 per cent of them. I think this is not driven by lack of confidence but rather by many women’s tendency to be thorough and achieve the highest standards.

On the other hand, I believe there is a lot of work that can be done by organisations to ensure more women are being considered for jobs and promotions, including providing better information on the hiring process.

I believe there is an opportunity for women in the Middle East to thrive in the financial sector, since this region has a huge pool of talented, well-educated women.

Looking specifically at the UAE, according to the World Economic Forum’s 2014 report on gender equality, the country has been able to achieve equality between men and women in educational attainment, as 77 per cent of Emirati women enroll in higher education, representing 70 per cent of university graduates. This high rate of education among women, including in higher and professional education, naturally allows a great opportunity for women to lead and have a larger role in this sector.

Moreover, over the last two decades, women in this region have proven that they are effectively able to lead financial institutions and make a difference.

With institutions realising the calibre women can bring to the table, I believe there will be a significant shift towards empowering women and giving them the opportunity to lead.

Rasha Badawi is the head of Barclays Private Bank at DIFC

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