Ahead of International Women's Day, we speak with a number of Redwood Bank's team including the Head of Human Resources and the Head of Treasury Operations.
"Gender in Finance isn’t a barrier if you’re working for the right business," says Redwood Bank’s Jacqui Clayden.
The Executive Assistant, along with her colleagues, have been reflecting on how times have changed for females in Finance, ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8, 2021.
"As a woman, born in the late 70s, from Wales, who got her qualifications while working full time, I’d say I’ve learnt to never give up. Be fearless, be relentless and be true to yourself," Jacqui says.
International Women’s Day is celebrated every year and is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights, while also celebrating their achievements and increasing visibility.
For Rhia Botha, Redwood’s Head of Treasury Operations, the only issue she comes up against in the workplace is herself she says.
"As women, we often try harder to prove ourselves, but if you are good at your job your work will speak for itself, and you can be a good wife, mother, and businesswoman, all at the same time.
"The challenges of being a working mum and home-schooling can’t be understated. This has been overcome with the help of the Bank. The flexibility and understanding of the executive team have allowed me to put in the extra time in the evenings, and when is more convenient."
The Bank’s Project Manager Jackie Baker has worked in Finance for more than 30 years. She recalls one interview which was carried out years ago, where they "indirectly asked" when she might be having children.
"I think we’ve come a long way since then," she says. "Looking back early on in my career, senior Finance roles were not widely available to women, and I saw a huge amount of protectionism as women worked harder to prove themselves, but there’s been a definite shift in recent years."
Tracey Lester is one of those women working in a senior role, as Redwood’s Head of HR, and knows more than most about recruitment.
"I’ve worked within professional services for a number of years and top executive roles have typically been male dominated, but this has changed dramatically over the last few years," she says.
“Although I think there is still a way to go, I’m seeing more female role models and much less inequality and discrimination across the industry.”
She says that promoting gender balance in the workplace is something that many companies are now working towards, and Redwood has embraced this through signing up to the Women in Finance Charter.
"It has been proven that companies whose leadership team is gender-balanced have a higher return on equity when compared to organisations whose senior management team consists of men only," Tracey says.
"Gender and diversity in general should play a centrally connected role in a firm’s purpose."
International Women’s Day takes place on March 8, 2021.