The speakers sharing their industry and life experiences admitted the pace of change was incredibly slow and that cultural roadblocks remained.
But they all agreed they were determined to carry on with the drive to improve financial literacy and well-being for women.
Financial adviser Jessica Brady – who recently sold her successful, award-winning Fox & Hare business to start her financial literacy program, The Greenhouse– said the industry has ‘so far to go’.
“We have made large strides, but on every metric we have a very long way to go,” she said.
“Money is still a huge taboo for women to talk about. When they come in to talk to us there is so much shame.”
Highlighting the fact that the fastest-growing homeless population is women in their 50s and that women were twice as likely to be mentally impacted by the cost-of-living crisis, Jessica added: “You can yoga all day long, but that’s not going to do any good if you’re sitting up all night stressing about money.
“We can’t have the taboo of talking about money.”
The eminent panel – which included Camilla Love F FIN, Director, Perennial Investment Management; Founder, F3 – Future Females in Finance; Louise Sandery, Head of Human Resources Asia Pacific, Dimensional Fund Advisors; and Irene Vides, Investment Associate, Dimensional Fund Advisors – also discussed the benefits of quotas, KPIs attached to greater diversity, the need for greater diversity on boards and a ‘glimmer of hope’ with a greater take-up of co-parental leave.
FINSIA Diversity Advisory Council Chair Nat Yan-Chatonsky, who was at the event, said: "Hearing about the persistent gender pay and superannuation gaps was a stark reminder of the challenges we face.
“Yet, it was heartening to hear from our panelists, all committed to making a difference in the finance sector. “It became clear that a multifaceted approach is needed - one that involves society, culture, and organisational changes. This includes D&I policies, quotas, KPIs, and crucially, having at least one change agent in the leadership team to accelerate positive changes. Change is a collective effort. Let's continue to push forward”.
Look out for more from the individual speakers in future newsletters.