Two undergraduate students at St Catharine’s College have set up a new organisation to address gender inequality in the finance industry.
Danielle Wright (2019, Land Economy) and Beth Kearsley (2019, Economics) co-founded Females in Finance in September to help reduce gender inequality in finance by preparing and encouraging young ambitious female and non-binary students who want to pursue a career in the industry. The initiative was envisioned and built in response to positions in the corporate financial world being dominated by men, and findings that female candidates are 25% less confident in their financial acumen than their male counterparts.
Danielle explains, “A common misconception is that women are not interested in finance. Despite the efforts of some employers, we believe they are simply not encouraged or do not feel they have a chance to pursue a career in this industry. I am so proud that a small team from St Catharine’s is working to help change this by providing talented female and non-binary candidates with the financial literacy and confidence to take their first steps into the world of finance.”
Both co-founders are themselves interested in career paths in the finance industry. Without personal connections to anyone working in the sector, they are reliant like so many students on the information available online. Over the summer, they noticed a proliferation of blogs and articles about the sector, but that these conversations seemed dominated by male contributors.
While the idea of ‘Females in Finance’ only emerged during a brainstorm on 20 August, the pair worked hard to research the needs of female and non-binary students in a similar position, prepared content and built a website that was launched on 29 September. They were also joined by another Catz undergraduate, Sohani Shah (2019, Economics), in the role of Financial News Analyst to provide a flavour of the hot topics in the industry through social media content known as ‘Market Mondays’.
Beth adds, “Our own experiences have definitely helped inform the resources offered by Females in Finance: from how to prepare a compelling CV, to understanding the value of Spring Week internship programmes before the application window passes you by. We are committed to making this content free of charge for users to ensure it is accessible for everyone, and to leveraging the rich insights available from the different degree courses and societies that exist in Cambridge and at other universities.”
Already, the Females in Finance website has been used by hundreds of visitors in its first two weeks of operation and offers a ‘one-stop shop’ with a wide range of resources, tips on how to effectively up commercial awareness and advice from females in finance. A technical skills matrix even displays the different divisions in banking and finance with the corresponding technical knowledge and skills you’ll be expected to demonstrate at interview and resources to develop in these areas.
Current students, potential mentors and employers are all invited to get involved in Females in Finance, and can express their interest through the ‘Join’ menu option on the new website.