Editor’s corner – Women have opinions too

Katie Royals, 12/08/2022

As a journalist, my inbox is regularly filled with various spokespeople reacting to economic and industry events and data. These comments and thoughts prove very useful to us and help us stay abreast of the wealth management sector’s sentiment.

However, recently I have noticed a key problem with these comments.

It is very common to go days without receiving a single comment from a woman. Last week, I counted the comments I received on the latest interest rate hike. In total, I received 32 emails. Just two quoted a woman.

In general, if I were to remove Hargreaves Lansdown, which has two or three prolific female commentators, the proportion of female quotes would be reduced by 40 to 50 percent, to between five and 10 percent of all comments.

This simply is not good enough.

Women have opinions too and deserve to be heard.

Not only can women look at and react to the same data as men, but they may also be able to offer a fresh perspective.

Even more frustratingly, many of the firms that never offer quotes from women are very vocal about their diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives and the steps they are taking to improve their diversity.

Putting forward female spokespeople is an incredibly easy and simple way for a firm to demonstrate it is taking diversity seriously and is trying to create an inclusive workforce.

If all anyone ever sees of the industry is male spokespeople, that is all prospective clients and employees will think it is.

It is widely acknowledged that you can’t be what you can’t see.

Talented, prospective employees will be put off even applying for jobs in the industry if they do not see people like them in the firms.

Selecting spokespeople may not be seen as a priority to firms in the scheme of everything they have to worry about. However, these people become the public face of the firm.

Firms should make sure the faces they are choosing to represent them reflect the image they want to present.

Either way, ignoring 50 percent of the population is rarely a good idea.

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