In recent years, women have made incredible gains in a number of fields and professions. However, it’s no secret that women still have a long way to go if they’re going to reach parity with their male counterparts… particularly in the field of finance. That’s why, this Women’s Month, the Security Traders Association is so focused on the achievements of women in the field, most notably through their recent event: Gender Diversity: Including Men in the Conversation. STA CEO Jim Toes recently spoke with Equities.com contributor Silvia Davi to illuminate the ongoing issue of women in finance:
EQ: Tell me about the objective of your new event – Gender Diversity: Including Men in the Conversation?
Jim Toes: We think that including men on gender initiatives in the workplace is necessary in order to achieve true parity. This event honors men who are front and center when it comes to promoting smart and talented women into positions of greater visibility and prominence.
EQ: Who is participating in the event? Which firms have been the most receptive?
JT: We are very pleased to have Candace Straight, Executive Producer of the film Equity as our Keynote Speaker. Her film reflects different male archetypes in our industry and offers a fair and balanced view on the dynamics of men and women in the financial services workplace.
We have received support from the firms that we have existing relationships with, as well as some newcomers and look forward to a balanced representation of firm types at the event.
EQ: Are you seeing any traction in the securities industry overall?
JT: We are seeing traction within the STA, an association which represents a broad slice of the securities industry. For example, by implementing a women’s initiative and offering a symposium at our market structure conference last year – we saw a 27% increase in women attendees. Also, 30% of our program participants were women and it added to the diverse content on panels and presentations.
EQ: Aside from the Women in Finance Initiative – is the STA offering members other recourses?
JT: Yes, as mentioned above, we practice what we preach by making a concerted effort to have more women on our panels at all STA events. Our market structure conference is a nice example of this.
EQ: What is the criteria for the award winners?
JT: Candidates need to be men that exemplify Ken Heath’s attitude and service the advancement of women in finance. In making a recommendation, please provide examples of how the candidate made the most of the resources available to them in assisting in the career development of women. Finally, candidates need to be “cool”. Please provide information such as by not limited to; favorite car ever driven, best concert ever attended, idea of the perfect trip, etc. Everyone who knew Ken, knew that he was a feminist, always championing women on Wall Street and had a passion for racing cars in Daytona back in the day when they raced right on the beach.
EQ: Don’t men get enough recognition in this industry already? Will women also be recognized at the event?
JT: Our initiative is driven by certain guiding principles. Getting men to the table is one of our missions for this initiative.
EQ: What other initiatives is the STA focusing on for March- International Women’s Month?
JT: We will be preparing for a charitable campaign that will run after International Women’s month aimed at supporting our military women and will last through May.
EQ: The STA has been a leader in the industry on the topic of Women in Finance, have you reached out to other associations to unite on this topic?
JT: Yes we have and are currently doing so. One of our guiding principles is that we work with other women’s groups and initiatives to promote similar empowerment missions.