EWPN and EPA collaborate on boosting equality in the finserv industry
The European Women Payments Network (EWPN) and the Emerging Payments Association (EPA) are working together to bolster understanding of the diversity issues that exist in the financial services sector.
The first output of this partnership is a new white paper published by the EPA – “Women in Changing Times” – which sets out a baseline in gender equality issues that will allow for the measurement of change over time.
The trade association investigated the current state of equity in the payments sector, focusing on successful examples of progressions in the movement, in order to detail plans for workforces to balance the playing field between genders.
Surveying hundreds of industry executives, the EPA found that roughly three quarters of the female participants (77.5%) and 38% of the men, feel that gender discrimination is still unacceptably high.
More concerning is that 57% of those surveyed reported having personally experienced gender discrimination, and that discrimination has had serious negative effects on their duties, pay and/or advancement in the workplace.
Martha Mghendi-Fisher, founder of EWPN believes this partnership is crucial to understand the social and structural barriers that inhibit change so that initiatives and action can be taken to more effectively level the playing field.
She says: “It is very exciting to be working with the EPA, with its reach and influence in the financial services sector. It is vital that we all understand the barriers that exist, not just from an anecdotal point of view, but from informed insight from across the sector.”
The direct cost is evidently high and borne by the individual – but the indirect cost is also problematic. Those who feel they have been discriminated against have a significantly more negative attitude about both the current situation and the prospects for improving conditions in the future.
“It’s not bad… but it’s not good,” says Tony Craddock, the EPA’s director general. He continued: “I take the results of this study personally – as should everyone in the payments industry. It’s time for a step change. We all have a duty to use this research to understand where we really are with diversity and then to help implement the recommendations as individuals.”
Along with launching the results of its recent study, the EPA has announced that it will be creating a ‘Diversity Charter’ as a way to encourage its members to commit to creating diverse senior leadership teams. By signing up, members will be able to publish key metrics and inform external and internal stakeholders of their commitment towards equality.
The EWPN and EPA will be working together on other research projects over the coming months.