Dec 09 2014

Women in Leadership Colloquium

Women have always played an important role in financial services, and they are taking on more and more leadership roles every year. However, gender inequality in the American workplace still exists and poses a significant challenge for women who are looking to ascend professionally. So much more can be done for women to feel a sense of full social and economic equality. 

Globally in financial services, women comprise 25% of middle managers, 19% of senior leaders, 14% of board members, and 2% of CEOs.  Filene and the World Council of Credit Unions hosted the Women in Leadership Colloquium at the University of Southern California. The colloquium brought together experts from academia, recruiting, and credit unions to share research and jump-start dialogue related to women leaders in credit unions.

The colloquium highlighted three key themes, each approaching the issue of women and leadership differently. The central theme focused on the opportunities and challenges women face at every level in credit unions. The discussions ended with solutions that will help credit unions create a culture of inclusivity and equality.

One of the discouraging findings of the colloquium revealed that women climb the ranks less often than men, making up 70% of credit union employees overall but only 41% of credit union leadership. The report examines how issues like career starting point, education, and other more subtle hurdles combine to slow the advancement of women in credit unions. Moreover, it outlines what can be done to foster women’s leadership, including emphasizing areas where women excel, supporting more flexible child-care options, and recognizing the problem that women are often the harshest critics of other women. The colloquium set the stage for the release of Enhancing Women's Leadership In Credit Unions the second report in Filene's Credit Union Women in Leadership International Research Series which will be released in early 2015. 

Filene thanks our generous supporters for making this research possible.