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Women in Banking Symposium Presents Case for Gender Diversity in Banking

October’s second annual Promoting Growth and Prosperity Through the Banking Industry: The Power of Gender Diversity in the Boardroom and C-Suite conference drew over 350 attendees across 40 states for virtual sessions led by banking and industry professionals, including Chief Economist of LinkedIn Karin Kimbrough and two Federal Reserve presidents, who shared insights into achieving gender diversity in high-level roles.

Kimbrough called out the outsized burden women have faced during the pandemic, stressing the need for companies to step up and support workplace flexibility and remote work to help accommodate them, as well the importance for organizations to seek — and value — skills more than a degree from a specific institution. She cited the fact that while the number of women on boards is increasing, progress has been slow. “The pipeline is leaking,” Kimbrough said. “We’re moving the needle very slowly and I reject the idea we wait for parity — let’s be bold and stop looking for solutions to a leaking talent pipeline, waiting for women to get there. Let’s pull them along.”

Richmond Fed President Tom Barkin and San Francisco President Mary Daly echoed those sentiments in a fast-paced fireside chat, both noting that women have faced more pressures at home and in the workforce in the midst of the global pandemic — resulting in a large number of women exiting the workplace, a loss that will be difficult to recoup. They discussed the power of networking, how men can serve as better allies and advocates, and what the future may look like for working women following the pandemic.

The Richmond Fed’s Jasmine Peters chaired this year’s conference planning team. The level of interest and participation in the conference reinforced the need to support and bolster women in C-suite and board roles and help the many interested — and qualified — women to find actionable ways to get there, she said.

Presented in partnership with Bank on Women, Inc. and The Risk Management Association, the event’s overarching purpose was to present attendees with action-oriented ways to achieve their career and diversity goals. Bank on Women, Inc. is planning follow-up communications to build up on breakout discussions and continue creating a pathway of high-level achievement for women, and the Richmond Fed is already preparing for a third annual symposium in 2021.

“Feedback this year was overwhelmingly positive, and we were pleased to see attendance grow and diversify by offering this event virtually,” said Lisa White, executive vice president at the Richmond Fed. “We’re proud to be one of the organizations leading this conversation and are eager to help move the needle farther and faster than it’s been trending.”

Visit the Richmond Fed’s YouTube channel for a replay of the symposium. 

 

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