The last 12 months has seen some major developments for women on several fronts; for many, 2017 represented a watershed moment following the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the subsequent “#MeToo” and #TimesUp movements. Elsewhere In the movie industry, the recent success of Black Panther and its strong female characters has been praised by critics as well as the earlier hit of Wonder Woman, the first fully fledged superhero movie with a female lead and director. We also had the first lead “Jedi” in the recent episodes from the Star Wars saga. Unlike Star Wars, the “Force” in the world of business is still largely unbalanced.
This International Women’s Day Oval wants to celebrate the role of women, particular in business and the largely male dominated world of tech. Oval Money makes no secret that it is proud to have Benedetta spearheading the company as CEO. We believe women have a key role to playing in shaping the tech landscape and we make no excuses about it. The good news is that more and more women are taking senior positions in tech, whether it’s a small start-up or major multinational and the pay-gap, whilst not yet in parity, is closing. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves - there is a long way to go. Despite some considerable strides and incremental change in recent years, there are only limited numbers of CEOs in the top jobs.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. The 2016 Bloomberg Pay Index has some good news for females in business. Higher level roles are being increasingly filled more by women, and the trend is expected to rise; and they claim the boom in tech has been a major factor for this improvement. There are some big businesses that are headed up by women; IBM and Yahoo have been famously lead by women right at the very top.
Going beyond the standard rhetoric of differences on the payslip or a lack of women in leadership, financial literacy (or the lack of it) has been highlighted as a key area of focus to bridge the gap. For instance, non-profit Wider Opportunities for women estimates that over 41% women struggle from a financial perspective. In a paper tackling financial literacy around the world, a study by Klapper et al. found that “women, the poor, and lower educated respondents were more likely to suffer from gaps in financial knowledge.” As a result, many feel that levelling the playing field can be achieved through better access to capital, which is critical in today’s tech industry. When women invest as much as men do there is likely to be a greater balance.
That’s where a new breed of start-ups like Oval and established players in the financial industry can play a role. New opportunities like our soon to launch Marketplace can help to empower everyone and bring the world of investment to new audiences. We believe that by giving our users (regardless of sex) innovative ways of investing their money, we can help to increase the level of financial literacy and ultimately improve access across the board.
It will take time, but if the MeToo movement has proved anything, it’s that change can happen quickly. In the meantime, we hope you take a moment to celebrate the role of women in your own lives. Happy Women’s Day.
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