As we celebrate International Women’s Day, it’s a great opportunity to reflect on the progress made by women in the finance industry and the challenges they continue to face. Over the years, women have made significant strides in breaking barriers and shattering glass ceilings, however there’s still work to be done to achieve true gender equality in the workplace.

According to a 2020 McKinsey report, organisations with more than 30% women executives were more likely to outperform those with fewer women executives or none at all. This highlights the impact that gender diversity can have on organisational performance and success. Similarly, their 2019 findings revealed that companies in the fourth quartile for gender diversity were 27% more likely to underperform in terms of profit compared to those in the top three quartiles.

At Operis, we are proud to be part of this journey towards gender diversity and equality. Over the years, we have made significant strides in increasing the representation of women in our workforce. In June 2021 our analytical team was 17% female and 83% male, currently (March 2024) we are now 30% female and 70% male. This shows a notable increase in the percentage of women working in our analytical team 2024 compared to 2021, reflecting our commitment to fostering an inclusive and diverse workplace.

Despite the progress, women in finance continue to encounter various challenges, ranging from gender bias, discrimination (against mothers), unequal pay and lack of representation in leadership roles. These challenges can hinder their career advancement and limit their opportunities for growth and development. According to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, 1 in 9 mothers (11%) reported that they were either dismissed or made compulsorily redundant, or treated so poorly they felt they had to leave their job.

A member of our team shared her experience: “Operis offers flexible working arrangements to manage childcare and support which a lot of other companies don’t, they understand that people function best when they feel supported and trusted.”

Cristina Filionescu, Director at Operis said: “While working at Operis I had three children. They are the most important highlight from a personal perspective.  I am genuinely grateful for the support and flexibility that I received after becoming a parent.”

Sakshi Banka added: “Working at Operis I never felt less than my male counterparts and have always been treated fairly. I also think it’s so important for women to be in STEM, primarily to reduce the ‘groupthink’, and make sure women are part of conversations around future development.

I’m grateful to my mum and sister who have been my role models. Growing up in an environment with strong women who have always encouraged me to take risks helped me begin my career in the traditionally male-dominated industry of project finance.”

Veselina Aldred, Chief Operating Officer mentioned, “Operis has been incredibly supportive with my balancing work with family/social life. Since having a family, Operis did find a way to change my role so I could still add value to the organisation but have the time I felt I needed to raise my young children.

I have no doubt that they would continue to support me, or at least try very hard to find a way to, as life throws new demands my way.

I have not been the only person to enjoy flexibility by Operis on this front. We always seek to support our colleagues navigate through these realities of life and will continue to do so, as best as we can.”

Furthermore, our latest Great Place To Work survey revealed that 100% of women at Operis agree with the following statements:

· People here are treated fairly regardless of their gender.

· I am treated as a full member here regardless of my position.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let’s reaffirm our commitment to promoting gender diversity and equality in the finance industry. By addressing the challenges faced by women, fostering an inclusive culture, and providing equal opportunities for all, we can create a brighter and more equitable future for everyone.

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