In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, a day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women all over the world, B-Hive held a roundtable with 12 inspiring women from the finance and technology sectors. It gave these women a platform to discuss their experiences working in predominantly male-oriented fields, and how this has impacted their lives and careers.
International Women’s Day also serves each year as a call to action for accelerating gender parity—and in the finance and technology sectors, the numbers show that we are greatly behind.
According to the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), men represent, on average, 85% of the executive committee members in the European financial intermediation sector. For Belgium specifically, that number climbs to 95%.
The numbers also show great disparities in the ICT sector – according to Eurostat, women represented 32.8% of students in ICT in 2015, well above the EU average of 17.2%. However, this number drops significantly when it comes to working in the industry—women who worked as ICT specialists in Belgium in 2015 represented only 15.1% of the industry.
To put it in numerical terms, nearly 8 million people were employed in the EU as ICT specialists in 2015. The figures show that the profession was predominately male as women represented only 1.2 million of all ICT specialists employed in the EU. This gap is alarming.
According to Virginija Langbakk, Director of EIGE, “Deep-rooted stereotypes are one of the main obstacles for women’s careers in the ICT sector. At an early age, girls learn to consider boys better at learning digital skills. Later in life, they look for career options elsewhere and overlook the benefits of having a job in tech. If we do not break these stereotypes, the EU will keep wasting potential talent.”
So, how can we break the cycle? How can we ensure that more women are represented in finance and tech—especially within leadership?
One way B-Hive plans to enable this is through programs such as TalentHive, which puts a strong focus on strengthening the talent pool in Europe to ensure today’s talent and current workforce is equipped with the right skills and experience to fulfill their career ambitions and thrive in the digitization of financial services industry. This also includes empowerment of women in these fields—more women in finance and tech means a stronger workforce.
Data has proven time and time again that a more diverse workforce is not only more efficient and profitable, but also offers companies the chance to hear perspectives that were not previously present. It’s crucial for companies to have more intersectional voices heard across sectors and across leadership, and encourage more diversity (this can apply to gender, but also to age, expertise, cultural background and more) to ensure that they are creating solutions and technology for the modern world: one that is filled with people—men and women—from different walks of life.
Interested in learning more about B-Hive's programs and initiatives?