Spotlight on SFG’s Gender Activities with FC4S

Every year on March 8 the world celebrates International Women’s Day and uses the milestone as an opportunity to celebrate women’s accomplishments and reflect on our collective progress in advancing gender equality.  Unfortunately, the prognosis is not good, with estimates ranging from 131 (WEF) to 286 years (UN Women) required to achieve gender equality.  And the gaps are particularly pronounced in business and finance. Women running companies and asset management firms raise less than 2% of total invested capital (ImpactAlpha) and women hold just 19.75% of board seats globally, 6.7% of board chair seats, 5% of CEO roles, and 15.7% of CFO positions (Deloitte). This is despite the growing evidence that gender-diverse companies outperform their less-diverse peers (SFG Gender Hub).

And the problem persists in our own backyard.  Switzerland continues to fall short in advancing gender equality and faces persistent challenges in key areas. Female representation in executive roles remains stagnant at 14% from 2021 to 2022, contrasting sharply with Sweden’s 27%. Similarly, female representation in senior management stands at only 23%, unchanged since 2021, lagging behind countries like the UK with 31%.  In addition, and worryingly, Switzerland fell from the top 10 on the Global Gender Gap Index in 2020 to 21st place in 2022.

This is why SFG made Gender a key impact theme in 2021 and, in 2023, agreed to take on the chairperson role on the FC4S Gender Working Group. The Financial Centers for Sustainability (FC4S) is an international coalition of 40 financial hubs united in their efforts to advance the objectives outlined in the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement. The goal of the Gender Working Group is to promote gender equality within the financial centers through awareness raising, education, and catalytic actions.  In 2023 the Working Group launched two fantastic resources – a framework and a practical guide – and in honor of IWD2024, we wanted to spotlight those today:

FC4S Gender Charter

In September, the Gender Charter was adopted and endorsed by 21 members, at the FC4S Annual General Meeting. The charter is meant to serve as a framework to build an inclusive financial ecosystem that incorporates gender considerations into all aspects of decision-making, from investments to operations, strategies and management, products, services, and customer engagement. Read more here

FC4S Gender Booklet

In December, the FC4S Gender Working Group launched a Gender Booklet at COP28 in Dubai on Finance Day. The Gender Booklet is an extension of the Charter and serves as a comprehensive guide. It guides Financial Centres in applying the principles delineated in the Charter, furnishing them with specific actions, practical resources, and case studies. This collaboratively developed handbook serves as a valuable asset, fostering the advancement of Financial Centres in their pursuit of gender equality. Read more here


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