As a woman of color, choosing a career path has always been the biggest talk of the town (AKA, my family). So when high school graduation approached for me in 2017, I knew exactly what career path I wanted to choose: accounting and finance.
You can call me crazy all you want because I've had others say the same along my journey, but I always envisioned myself being this big-time boss in the finance world, calling shots and changing the game. I knew it would be my reality, and it would happen effortlessly.
What I soon found out upon entering the accounting and finance world, though, was women of color don't occupy many positions of leadership. And those that did never had it easy and still don't in their positions of power. That’s the moment I knew I had work to do, and it starts here.
In this blog, we'll discuss some serious truths about the gender gap in finance boardrooms and provide the ultimate strategies to close it down for good.
The Gender Gap: A Serious Issue
The gender gap in finance boardrooms is a problem that cannot be ignored. Women, particularly women of color, have historically been underrepresented in these positions, causing a severe lack of growth and representation in the field.
This lack of diversity not only hinders the progress of women in the industry but also limits the perspectives and ideas that are brought to the table. It's time to change that, and here are six ways it can be done.
Strategy 1: Mentorship and Sponsorship
One effective strategy for closing the gender gap is through mentorship and sponsorship. By connecting with experienced professionals who can provide guidance and support, women can gain invaluable insights and opportunities.
If you're looking to also grow in the finance space, make sure to seek out mentors and sponsors who are committed to diversity and inclusion, and don't hesitate to ask for their help in advancing your career.
Strategy 2: Investing in Education and Development
Knowledge is power, and investing in your education and professional development is crucial for closing the gender gap.
Make sure to take advantage of training programs, workshops, and certifications that can enhance your skills and knowledge in the finance industry. These are needed to show your commitment to advancing in these spaces.
Additionally, seek out scholarships and grants that can support your educational journey. Not only will these resources help you advance your education, but they'll also serve as another stepping stone to getting you one step closer to advancing along your career path.
Strategy 3: Advocacy and Allyship
Closing the gender gap requires the collective effort of both women and men. Advocacy and allyship play a vital role in creating an inclusive work environment.
Men can use their privilege and influence to support and amplify the voices of women of color. They can also challenge the status quo and actively promote diversity and equality in finance boardrooms.
So when you're in the accounting and finance spaces, don't be afraid to connect with men who can be valuable allies. They can also serve as great teachers and mentors to help you reach the biggest milestones in your career.
Strategy 4: Networking and Community Engagement
Building a solid network is essential for breaking barriers in the finance industry. Attending industry events, joining professional organizations, and participating in online communities to connect with like-minded individuals all go a long way when changing the color of the boardroom.
Also, it's crucial to engage in conversations about diversity and inclusion and cultivate relationships that can open doors for future opportunities. Remember, your network is your network and your key to unlocking plenty of doors of options for you down the line.
Strategy 5: Leverage Technology and Digital Platforms
In today's digital age, technology can be a powerful tool for overcoming barriers in the finance industry. So, use social media platforms and online forums to build your personal brand and showcase your expertise.
You should also take advantage of online job boards and platforms focusing on diversity and inclusion to explore new opportunities. These opportunities are full of potential for you to shine your light and start climbing the corporate ladder.
Strategy 6: Self-Advocacy and Empowerment
Perhaps the most important strategy of all is self-advocacy and empowerment. It's essential to believe in yourself, recognize your worth, and speak up for what you deserve.
Don't be afraid to negotiate for fair compensation and promotions, either. Stand tall and confident, knowing you have the skills and capabilities to succeed. And if a particular space doesn't see your potential, go where you can be acknowledged for your efforts and talents!
Conclusion: Unleash Your Power
Closing the gender gap in finance boardrooms is a journey that requires collective effort and determination. By implementing these strategies, you can unleash your power and make a significant impact in the finance industry.
Together, let's break down barriers and create a future where women of color thrive in finance boardrooms. The power is truly in your hands!