By Emma Napier, Head of Proposition, Bravura
The importance of supporting women in the financial industry
Being a woman in financial services can be tough sometimes. Even to this day, women often have to go through unpleasant experiences brought by past legacies, which some financial firms still uphold because of their male-dominated mentalities and behaviours. The financial environment is slowly getting better for women, however, there still is room for a lot of improvement.
I have been a massive supporter of women’s networking groups, and have attended many over the years, in the UK financial services industry. When I first began my career, such female-led initiatives in the industry did not exist. As the years went by, in these last 15 years, women have finally been able to find a voice in the world of financial services, alongside their male colleagues. That voice is not competitive. It is not egotistic. It is a confident voice. It is a determined voice, filled with pure encouragement for each other, with the goal of bringing positive change to society.
As networking groups for women in financial services are so successful in the UK, other countries might highly benefit from them as well. South Africa is an area where establishing such networks could be a success. This is why the Women in SA Financial Services Network was launched in South Africa a couple of months ago.
A common goal: bringing women from the financial services industry together
When this initiative was announced in March, I immediately scanned my network. I wanted to check who, among all my contacts, would be keen to support and progress this project in South Africa. Very quickly, the level of interest ramped up. Leading financial firms, such as Stanlib/INN8, 10X Investments, Altus Consulting, Morningstar, and Bravura, organised a series of meetings to discuss a plan and turn this wonderful idea into reality. This is how the Women in SA Financial Services Network was launched on March 8th 2022, in occasion of International Women’s Day, on LinkedIn. The goal: to inform anyone who works in the South African financial services industry about this fantastic opportunity and encourage the formation of a great network, where women (and men) could meet, to share ideas, professional skills and connect with one another.
The launch event: Women in SA Financial Services Network
On Monday 23rd May, the Women in SA Financial Services Network held its first event in Johannesburg. Bravura hosted an informal gathering with like-minded women and men, to chat and empower each other, in a relaxed environment. No speeches and certainly no presentations were involved. The event was incredible – over 50 women, including some men, had a good time and interesting conversations.
The evening started with small groups of women and men arriving at the beautiful venue and happily introducing themselves. As the evening progressed, the room filled with a vibrant energy, smiles widened and more conversations developed. Many professional connections were made and a lot of inspiration was flying around the room.
If you work in the financial sector in South Africa, you can join this LinkedIn group to learn about the upcoming events and activities organised by the Women in SA Financial Services Network.