17 QUESTIONS TO CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2022
We're celebrating International Women's Day 2002 by asking some of our team to reflect on a variety of questions about women in the workplace, covering areas such as personal experiences, changes in the industry and advice for women in the fund administration world.
1. WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO WOMEN LOOKING TO MAKE THE C-SUITE?
"Here are three pieces of advice to women looking to make the C-Suite:
- Don’t restrict your knowledge / expertise / interests to your job description: A C-level role will be dynamic and require an understanding of many facets of the business. Developing knowledge of all aspects of a company’s operations and strategy will be important in any C-Suite role.
- Backing yourself and your abilities: It's really important to have confidence in your opinions and decision making capabilities.
- Mentors and network: Having access to the right people through your career to provide a sounding board and advice when needed can be really valuable"
Chief Financial Officer
2. HOW DO YOU CHALLENGE OR CALL OUT GENDER BIAS AND INEQUALITIES?
Assistant Vice President - Compliance
3. WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU’VE FACED AS A WOMAN IN THE FUNDS INDUSTRY? HOW HAVE YOU OVERCOME THEM?
"The funds industry has always been predominately male dominated, so as a woman in this industry the challenge is to be able to progress on the career path at the same pace as male colleagues.
Continuous commitment and hard work, coupled with the IWD campaign I hope will continue to help to change this narrative and the trend of women inclusion in senior management positions across the industry and beyond."
4. WHY DO WE NEED MORE WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP?
5 WHAT IS YOUR MESSAGE FOR INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY?
"May you dream bigger, fly higher and reach new heights with every passing day.
Wishing a very happy Woman’s Day to strong, intelligent, talented and simply wonderful women of this world!"
6. WHAT DOES INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY MEAN TO YOU?
"Regardless of gender, I believe that International Women's Day is a day for all to reflect on and acknowledge the achievements of women globally.
It is also an opportunity for all to focus on the progression and acceleration of women's rights socially, economically, culturally and politically."
Vice President - Corporate Services
7. WHY DO YOU SUPPORT WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT AND GENDER EQUALITY?
CEO - US
8. WHAT ARE SOME WAYS THAT CENTAUR ADVANCES WOMEN’S RIGHTS?
"First of all, I think Centaur genuinely seeks to provide opportunities for individuals to join the team and progress in their career, based on their ability to perform a given role, regardless of gender or other factors. If you are willing and able to do the job and if you are committed to progressing and contributing to the success of the business, that’s what’s most important here.
We have clear policies and procedures in place to deter investigate and penalize any form of discriminatory conduct or harassment. There is a zero tolerance for this within our business.
It goes without saying, our maternity policies are vital for supporting women to sustain their career. Our flexible working policy also supports employees (all of them – but including women in particular) to manage parental or other types of personal commitments alongside their work commitments. Our educational assistance program provides opportunities for any employee, who wants to do so, to develop their professional skills whilst working. This is particularly beneficial for women who may have needed to take time out of their career, for example, to return to work and continue to enhance their professional knowledge and skills.
We strongly believe we actively support gender equality in our workplace, in how we operate as an employer, but of course we need to continually assess if we could do more – whether that be within our own business or within our sector. We acknowledge that gender inequality does exist in society. It is more prevalent and evident in some workplaces and sectors than in others and it is particularly evident, at executive and board level, across a large range of sectors, including our own. Whether due to deliberate or unconscious bias, some women can be impeded in reaching their potential or progressing as far as they could in their careers.
Taking into account that Centaur is a relatively young business (born in 2009!) and the current age demographic within the fund administration sector, one would expect that as more of our own employees progress in their careers, increased representation of women at executive and board level should occur naturally. Having an appropriate balance of knowledge skills and attributes at all levels, for any business, is important for good governance and operational effectiveness. This is something we encourage and the more we can do to promote this, the better – individually and as a business.
On International Women’s Day, we recognise the important contribution that women make to our business, we are committed to gender equality and we want to break the bias."
Head of Risk and Compliance
9. WHAT PROGRESS HAVE YOU SEEN RECENTLY ON WOMEN’S RIGHTS?
"It is truly inspiring to see a significant uptick in the last couple years with more and more women becoming world leaders, heads of state and leading Fortune 500 companies. We, as women, all have a responsibility to push ourselves and each other into the next role, fight against the old mentality and continue to progress the conversation forward towards equality.
I’m encouraged with the progress seen recently with women’s rights overall, the prevalence of real growth opportunities and a shift in the overall perception. Women are strong, powerful and consistent leaders, CEO’s and should be seen as equal, valued contributors."
Head of Investor Services US
10. WHY ARE YOU AN ALLY FOR GENDER EQUALITY?
11. THE THEME OF IWD IS ‘BREAK THE BIAS’. DO YOU FIND THAT THERE IS STILL A BIAS TOWARDS MEN IN THE FUNDS INDUSTRY? IF SO, WHAT WAYS COULD WE COULD BREAK THIS BIAS?
"Companies in our sector are becoming increasingly aware of the advantages that diversity brings. It’s been fantastic to see far more women being appointed to funds’ boards and taking on leadership roles. That said, more can always be done – some of the ways to increase and encourage gender diversity include a graduate programme, mentoring and flexible working policies."
Head of Corporate Services
12. WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO WOMEN LOOKING TO MAKE IT IN THE FUNDS BUSINESS?
"My advice to women looking to make it in the funds industry would be to take charge of your career path; identify a senior leadership mentor early in your career, be confident in your abilities and take in everything people are willing to show you, and lastly don’t wait for opportunities to come to you, seek them out and speak up for yourself and what you deserve."
Senior Fund Accounting Manager
13 HOW HAVE YOU BALANCED BEING A MOTHER AND A PROFESSIONAL?
"Being a mother and a professional can be challenging, I don’t think any working parent, male or female, will tell you otherwise!
One of the key things for me, though, is not to feel guilty about having a career. Research has shown that women whose mums worked outside the home are more likely to have careers themselves. As the mother of 2 daughters, I hope I will inspire them to follow in my footsteps.
Perhaps it’s a bit of a cliché but it is very important for me that when I do spend time with my daughters that I am fully present, put the phone down, and make the most of the bedtime stories and the weekends.
While the challenges are obvious, and a reliable support system so important in overcoming many of them, I find it truly inspiring when I see women supporting other woman in the work place. It ‘s so important for today’s female leaders to inspire the next generation of leaders. It is something I have benefitted greatly from and I do my best to pass the torch along."
Head of Operations
14. WHAT CAN MEN DO TO BE ALLIES IN THE FIGHT FOR GENDER EQUALITY?
"I have been fortunate that Centaur has being a very Gender balanced firm since inception, we have always made a conscience effort to be fully inclusive regardless of Gender.
For Centaur as a business we have always looked for skill sets and talent first – this has resulted in a near 50/50 gender split within the firm.
I am well aware society is not as balanced or focused as our firm in being equal, but I will continue to lead by example and stand as an ally and an equal with my colleagues regardless of gender, race, religion or orientation."
Head of Business Development - Europe
15. WHAT WILL BE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FOR THE NEXT GENERATION OF FEMALE LEADERS?
"I believe the biggest challenge for generations of female leaders to come (and for my own generation) will be achieving their professional goals whilst dealing with, and trying to prevent, the effects of burn out. Statistics show that women are experiencing the effects of burn out more than their male counterparts as they strive to challenge gender bias and meet the unequal demands placed on them by society. To try and address this, we can all can play an important role in creating a workplace culture within which women, and all those affected by burn out, feel secure to safeguard their physical and mental wellbeing, without feeling like their opportunities for career progression could be impacted."
Assistant Vice President - Corporate Services
16. WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT THE FUTURE?
"I am excited to see women helping women continue to succeed and fight against gender bias in the workplace and society. I hope that we continue to see the positive effects from movements like International Women’s Day throughout society such as an increased representation of women in leadership positions. Although we have seen improvements, there is a long way to go as the gender pay gap in the EU still stands at 14.1%, on average, and among the largest publicly traded companies in the U.S., only about one in five board members are women and nearly one in 10 boards have no women.
The importance of Representation cannot be understated and I hope that we continue to see women breaking the bias and leading on the global stage whether it be in Business, Politics or Tech. We saw the first female President of the European Commission be elected in 2019 and the first female Vice President of America be elected in 2021 and I hope that we continue to move in the direction where women have an equal chance to reach the top level. It is important that we don’t become complacent with where we are and to continue the conversation on gender bias until we eventually, hopefully, reach a point where the pay gap and gender inequality do not exist."
New Business Coordinator
17. CAN YOU SHARE A WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT MOMENT THAT INSPIRED YOU?
"Several years ago, I spent a summer in Kolkata, India, volunteering with Development Action Society (DAS), an organization founded in 1989 by two women to support women and children in the most vulnerable and underprivileged communities in West Bengal. DAS’s programs focus on education, child protection, health, water-sanitation-hygiene, livelihood, women’s empowerment and protection. The organization provides women with training in tailoring, crafting jute products, beautician, computers, English, as well as work placements and guidance on finance management, among other coaching and support services.
Being able to see, first-hand, the growing confidence and camaraderie among the women involved in these programs was inspiring – they were learning skills which fostered their independence and ability to support themselves, their families and contribute to their communities. Being asked to contribute to this Q&A reminded me of this experience and of the rights and opportunities elsewhere that we may sometimes take for granted."
Assistant Vice President, AML Officer Services at Centaur
About International Women's Day
International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women's equality.
IWD has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organization specific. Visit www.internationalwomensday.com/