CFA Institute, the global association of investment management professionals, said its latest survey, Gender Bias in the Investment Profession in Asia Pacific, more than half of survey respondents (51%) said they are optimistic gender equality can be achieved in the next 10 years.
“Progress towards eliminating discrimination and achieving gender equality is vitally important for the future of the investment industry,” said Karyn McLean, CFA, head of marketing and communications, Asia Pacific, CFA Institute. “Diversity in the workplace enables the industry to tap into a much larger talent pool and gives voice to a wider range of perspectives and insights. A more inclusive work environment facilitates better team performance, allows for more effective decision making, including robust internal debates, and delivers better business outcomes.”
Investment professionals in India (72%) and Mainland China (60%) are the most optimistic of achieving gender equality in 10 years, while a minority, though still sizable group, in Singapore (44%) and South Korea (37%) see equality as a realistic goal in a decade. In addition, 74% of respondents said gender-balance in the workplace not only improves team performance, but sends a strong message to employees, customers, investors, and the public.
Obstacles to Achieving Gender Equality
Asked why fewer women hold senior positions, respondents across the region said women in general can be less assertive than men when advocating for career opportunities. Some 26% said women often sacrifice careers due to social pressure to take the lead in managing family life, while 20% believe the longer hours and higher stress of senior roles interferes with family duties. The still-small number of women role models in senior positions also slows progress, according to 18% of those surveyed.
Next Steps to Eliminate Gender Inequality
McLean said that CFA Institute sees this survey as drawing a ‘line in the sand’ that it can point out to the investment industry to encourage more women to join the industry and progress into senior roles. McLean noted that the President and CEO of CFA Institute, Margaret Franklin, CFA, represents the organization’s first female CEO.