BUSINESS BUSINESS COMPANIES ECONOMY EDITORIAL OP-ED OPINION POINTS OF VIEW

Mazars study: Gender Diversity-Its progress on central banks and its significance in Corporate Governance & Blue Chip companies

  • Gender diversity in central banks, sovereign funds, and European public pension funds is up slightly from last year, but progress is slow
  • One-fifth of central banks have no women in senior positions, unchanged from last year
  • 54% of central banks have already implemented a gender diversity programme, although only 15% reserve seats for women on their board of directors or monetary policy board
  • Boardroom diversity has been gaining focus as the concept of Corporate Governance is gaining strength in Romania
  • Romanian Blue Chip companies should take the lead on gender diversity

The world can change immensely with diversity as one of its values. According to different researches conducted in the past years, gender diversity is a smart business strategy, which more companies should prioritize to generate higher profits. The lack of gender diversity in financial institutions is a constant issue, and it will not change without modern policies.

Recently, Mazars and the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF) released a report on Gender Balance, that tracks the presence of men and women in senior positions at central banks, sovereign funds, and public pension funds. The study, now in its seventh year, scores and ranks institutions based on gender balance in their management and boards.

 

Central banks’ vision of the future should include gender diversity as a top priority

 

According to Mazars & OMFIF study, gender balance in central banks has improved for the second year in a row, but the global score remains at 27.5 (a score of 100 means perfect balance). Spain registered the highest score, followed by Aruba, Iceland, and Malaysia, while Europe remains the best-performing region with a score of 37.3. Diversity remains one of the most significant issues in any organization, especially in C-level positions. For instance, only 14 central banks globally are led by a woman, including the European Central Bank led by Christine Lagarde, its first female president.

As public institutions, central banks communicate with people every second of every day and they should make an effort to improve their policies in the future because the change can start from there. Not to mention the influence they have on the financial sector, which is an important matter.

In a new study released by the European Parliament, besides the gender pay gap, women are facing discriminations also regarding their pension. While the gender pay gap stands at 16%, the gap between the pension of the average man and woman across Europe is 40%, a number that can be changed with the help of pension schemes.

Everyone experienced once in their career the “sunflower management” moment – when everyone looks up to and agrees with their leaders’ ideas – and this is where diversity comes in play because it creates dissent. Without it, any decision-making would not be questioned or have a more profound understanding.

“In a complex, changing world, faced with multiple challenges, solutions are needed to enhance fair measure, balance, and soft skills such as intuition, flexibility, empathy, and patience. Women empowerment within boards brings together all these elements, contributing decisively to the increase of efficiency, to the development of the economy or the society in general, ” mentioned Mirela Roman, strategy consultant within the National Bank of Romania. “In our institution, which celebrates 140 years since its establishment, the concern for balance is permanent, including the perspective of gender diversity – almost 60 percent of all staff is represented by female employees, as well as around 50 percent of management positions within fundamental committees such as monetary policy or economic studies, having female leaders for more than a decade. I would like to reiterate the call to action of one of the most representative women in the financial world: ‹‹ Do you want a stronger economy? Give women more opportunities! ›› says madame Christine Lagarde, a role model of female leadership based on courage, generosity, and resilience. ”

Women empowerment should be regarded as an achievement, no matter the company, its industry, size, or position level. Having a meaningful voice as a woman in a business environment changes the dynamic, reshapes the conversation, and paves the way to a better and powerful world. There is no better time than the current context for the economic environment to reflect on the progress made, call for change and support, value, and allow women all over the world to develop and succeed.

 

Gender diversity in Romania: a key objective for Corporate Governance

 

The evolution of corporate governance research indicates the necessity for a heightened consideration to women on corporate boards, which has been an issue for years. One of the internal mechanisms regarding governance is the board of directors, which is intended to secure shareholders’ interest. Gender diversity has become a relevant and powerful topic in the whole world in recent years, with many pieces of research and studies to back it up.

„Lately, more attention has been drawn to the Board diversity criteria and an increased consideration was given to women in corporate Boards. Good governance is often on the same wavelength with strong organizational performance and a gender-balanced company is more inclined to have better achievements, to understand risk and how to reduce it, and to increase its profitability. A diverse Board can lead to richer debates, better decisions, and ideas, and ultimately, better results.”, mentioned Răzvan Butucaru, Partner, Financial Services & Advisory Leader, Mazars Romania.

Culture shapes values and in return, the values determine the future. Cultural values have an important impact on gender diversity in Corporate Governance and can move the focus on ability and performance, inclusive and participative leadership styles, rather than on hierarchy and group status. By contrast, the last ones tend to have less diverse boards.

 

Blue Chip companies must lead by example

 

The tone of discussion regarding women on corporate boards has resonated more lately, with people of different ages, gender, and social status starting a worldwide movement, in support of female leadership. As everyone knows, change starts at the top, and leaders can foster a culture of inclusion in their companies.

“Central banks play a crucial role in shaping the future direction of the business environment, especially when it comes to progressive policies that sustain female leadership. But they should not be the only ones to take the initiative; equally, companies must also contribute through their strategic values. Leading a large team in management accounting and payroll, where the female gender is predominant, I have always paid special attention to the principles of gender equality, especially when we talk about promotion to top positions. This is also what we always recommend to our clients: to encourage diversity within boards, enhance the complementary experience and involve female leaders in local or regional working groups, thus contributing to the reduction of gender disparities within the business community” mentioned Luminiţa Bornoiu (photo), Partner, Head of Accounting & Payroll Advisor, Mazars Romania.

Blue Chip companies, also known as the ones to weather the economic downturn better than anyone, are starting to show their support as more female leaders are joining them. Investors are beginning to take a closer look at companies that have diverse board teams and share the same values as them because they believe in an out-of-the-box leadership style, less unlikely to have political conflicts or to attract negative attention. All of these help an organization to take smarter decisions and increase its stock price.

Diversity is a change agent and it becomes more known with every year that passes. It is fundamental for influential companies to take the lead and show others how female leadership and diverse boards have more advantages on the market. The change is starting in Romania as well, with more women climbing to the top each year and successfully improve their organizations, while also encouraging and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

 

 

 

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