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18 June 2024 Article

Gender Diversity in Investment Management: The Challenge and a Solution

  1. Gavin Anthony
Gender inequality in finance persists, with women significantly underrepresented. We offer a framework for improvement. Our Young Women in Investment Program provides an alternative entry route for women, offering training, mentorship, and internships.
Gender Diversity in Investment Management: The Challenge and a Solution Read PDF
Gender Diversity in Investment Management

Report Overview

Gender inequality persists in many career fields, and the financial industry is no exception. Women are significantly underrepresented in this field, particularly in revenue-generating roles. The disparity extends to top executive positions, where women rarely hold C-suite or board chair roles. The industry remains predominantly male despite evidence suggesting that gender-diverse teams perform better.

“Gender Diversity in Investment Management: The Challenge and a Solution” aims to help leaders resolve gender inequality in a sustainable way. It suggests that solutions from within the financial industry will be required, with leaders adopting sustainable diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) frameworks to foster cultural shifts that support women in their organizations and across the industry.

To aid firms in their DEI efforts, CFA Institute developed the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Code, which offers actionable strategies across six pillars: Pipeline, Talent Acquisition, Promotion and Retention, Leadership, Influence, and Measurement. The DEI Code is tailored regionally with implementation guidance and aims to improve investment outcomes and working environments while fostering positive change.

The Challenge for the Industry
Despite an overall trend toward greater gender diversity in workplaces, the underrepresentation of women in the financial industry persists across education, hiring, training, promotions, and compensation. The lack of female representation in executive roles poses a challenge for young women considering careers in investment. Real progress toward creating a more inclusive culture requires commitment from industry leaders.

A Solution
The CFA Institute Young Women in Investment Program (YWI), a global DEI initiative, offers an alternative entry route for women into investment management. The program seeks to increase the talent pool of women and diversify perspectives within the industry. We launched YWI in India in 2018 to raise awareness and enable women to view investment management as a viable career option. And following with successful launches in Brazil, and Qatar, we expanded YWI into France, Spain, and the United Kingdom in 2022.

CFA Institute values the opportunity to develop YWI globally, working with our network of affiliated CFA Societies, globally aligned firms and entities, and individuals who want to make DEI a standard practice for all investment professionals, no matter where they are located. We believe solutions such as YWI need to be at the forefront of DEI initiatives to fulfil the mission of increasing gender diversity and enhancing the early-career pipeline of emerging talent.

CFA Institute strives to lead the investment profession globally by promoting the highest standards of ethics, education, and professional excellence for the ultimate benefit of society. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are crucial elements in both the future of the investment industry and the success of investment firms.

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