The Women in EU Finance Network brings together professionals interested in gender equality in the EU financial services and investment policy arena. We organise regular events to help share success stories, discuss persistent challenges and drive change by strengthening the connections between women (and men) working in financial services in Brussels and beyond, irrespective of seniority.
The gender pension gap
We hear a lot about the gender pay gap – the difference between the average earnings of men and women, but the pensions gap has had little attention, yet it is actually more acute. While the gender pay gap among full-time employees in April 2020 was 7.4%, and it was 15.5% among all employees, the gender pension gap is much wider. A recent report found a 40% gap in pension savings between women and men – that's an average difference in pension income by gender of about £7,500 a year. This podcast will explore the causes, and explain how individuals, businesses and government can go about closing the gap.
Women on boards - how do we reach equality?
Ensuring women’s full and effective participation and providing equal opportunities for leadership in political, economic and public life are a key component of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Yet data continues to show that women are constrained from achieving the highest leadership positions in the corporate world. Listen to experts from Europe, Africa and Asia exchange thoughts on what can be done to accelerate change when it comes to women on boards.
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Does gender diversity in the workplace help mitigate climate change?
On 4 July 2022, the Women in EU Finance Network and the ICAEW Sustainability and Climate Change Community hosted a webinar to consider whether organisations with women managers are likely to have lower carbon emissions. Discussion centred on a working paper published by European Central Bank which investigated the relationship between the percentage of women in managerial positions and carbon emissions within organisations, based on disclosures from 2,000 listed companies in 24 countries over a ten year period. Speakers included two of the authors of the working paper, Alessio Reghezza (University of Genova), Giulio Velliscig (Università degli Studi di Udine) as well as Margaret Ochieng (The Inclusive Village) and Richard Spencer (ICAEW).
Gender mainstreaming in practice: lessons from the EU budget
On 1 June 2021, the Women in EU Finance Network hosted an online panel debate looking how incorporating a gender perspective into fiscal planning and budgetary processes can help to assess and target the effects of policy actions and public spending on different genders. Informed by a special report issued by the European Court of Auditors, the event considered European and international experiences while sharing insights on the practical challenges associated with gender budgeting. Speakers included Dr Katharina Bryan (European Court of Auditors), Alfrun Tryggvadottir (OECD), Janja Kaker Kavar (Permanent Representation of Slovenia to the EU) and Alison Ring OBE FCA (ICAEW).
Conversation with Ms Evelyn Regner MEP
On 2 February 2021, the Women in EU Finance Network hosted an online conversation with Ms Evelyn Regner, Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality and member of the Economic and Financial Affairs Committee. The wide-ranging discussion with participants calling in from around Europe discussed women in financial leadership, how to mainstream gender into policy-making as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on gender equality and what steps can be taken to ensure a gender smart recovery.
Conversation on gender smart recovery spending
On 9 October 2020, the Women in EU Finance Network hosted an online meeting with a select number of representatives from the European Commission and senior professionals from different parts of the financial industry to exchange views on what could be done to ensure that women do not miss on out COVID-19 recovery spending. Participants considered ways of addressing existing barriers which might limit the ability of women – as investors, entrepreneurs and business leaders – from fully participating in European and national programmes.
Addressing the gender gap in financial well-being
On 19 February 2020, the Women in EU Finance Network breakfast took a closer look at how financial well-being differs by gender – and why a better understanding of this gap is a critical step towards ensuring that potential policy responses are appropriately designed. The event brought together Bróna Ní Chobhthaigh, author of the recent DG ECFIN discussion paper, Understanding the Gender Gap in Financial Well-Being, alongside Frances Fitzgerald MEP and Aleksandra Mączyńska, Executive Director, Better Finance. The breakfast was kindly hosted by the Permanent Representation of Ireland with the support of Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI).
Women in finance: Perspectives from across Europe
On 21 November 2019, ICAEW Europe and the City of London Corporation Office co-organised a special afternoon panel discussion with women leaders from across the continent to discuss gender-related trends in financial services. The event brought together Vivienne Artz (Chief Privacy Officer at Refinitiv and President of Women in Banking and Finance), Mara Catherine Harvey (Head Global UHNW Germany, Austria, Italy at UBS), Julia von Buttlar (Deputy Head of Division, Directorate for Securities Supervision at BaFin), Milda Dargužaitė (Group CEO, Northern Horizon Capital) Valérie Derambure (Deputy CEO, Ostrum Asset Management), Véronique Nejman (Chief Operating Officer, ING France) and Fiona Wilkinson (ICAEW President). It also marked the centenary of Mary Harris Smith, the first woman ever to become a chartered accountant and a member of ICAEW, in 1920.
Is sustainable finance gender neutral?
On 10 September 2019, ICAEW Europe and Accountancy Europe co-organised a Women in EU Finance breakfast with a view to taking a gender lens to the EU Sustainable Finance Agenda. At the centre of discussion was the question of whether the focus on green finance, given the urgent need to tackle climate change, limits the attention paid to social and governance considerations as they impact women. Following keynote remarks by Mario Nava (Director, DG Fisma, European Commission), reflections were shared by a panel of speakers including Dawn Slevin (Managing Director, Environmental Liability Solutions Europe), Burçak Inel (Head of Financing Growth, European Banking Federation) and Eleni Kanelli (Head of Advocacy, Accountancy Europe).
Supporting women’s careers in the EU financial services arena
On 4 July 2019, our Women in EU Finance Network met to discuss what can be done to help women get ahead in the EU financial services and insurance policy arena. With the kind support of the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Federation of European Securities Exchanges (FESE), participants engaged in lively conversation on recruitment policies and talent management while sharing best (and worst) practices. Conversations continued over networking drinks with our expert panellists; Anne-Sylvie Catherin (Director General for Human Resources, European Central Bank – ECB), Louise Harvey (Non-Executive Chair, FTI Consulting), Constance Kann (Director, Institutional Relations and Public Affairs, European Investment Bank – EIB) and Maria Demertzis (Deputy Director, Bruegel).
Is there a financial literacy gender gap?
On 19 June 2019, ICAEW Europe and Intrum co-hosted the fifth Women in EU Finance breakfast exploring how adequate financial literacy underpins the ability of individuals to be effective participants in the economy and how it enables them to make informed financial choices. The discussion was informed by contributions from Anne-Françoise Mélot (Head of Unit – Free movement of capital and application of EU law, DG FISMA), Anna Fall (Chief Brand & Communications Officer, Intrum), Raymond Frenken (Head of Communications & Financial Literacy, European Banking Federation) and Diana Filip (Deputy CEO, JA Europe).
Closing the pension gender gap
On 26 March 2019, ICAEW Europe and AGE Platform Europe co-hosted a Women in EU Finance breakfast focused on the role of the financial services sector in addressing the pension gender gap in Europe. Reflections on the scale of the challenge and potential steps to start tackling the gap were shared by Nathalie Berger (Head of Unit - Insurance and Pensions, European Commission), Anne-Sophie Parent (Secretary-General, AGE Platform Europe), Michaela Koller (Director General, Insurance Europe), Goedele Van der Linden (Director, Government Relations for Europe, Marsh & McLennan Companies) and Elisabeth Ottawa (Deputy Head of Public Policy, Schroders).
Exploring gender issues in Fintech
On 27 November 2018, ICAEW Europe and EY co-hosted a third Women in EU Finance breakfast exploring the role FinTech can play in fostering gender parity and making women part of the gender equation. The discussion was informed by contributions from Felicia Stanescu, Head of Unit, Financial Services Policy and International Affairs, European Commission, Ilona Gattung, Executive Director - EY Belgium, Patricia Boydens, Chief Commercial Officer, Harmoney / VP of FinTech Belgium and Christine Kiefer, Founder, Fintech Ladies.
The female voice in financial communication
On 17 October 2018, ICAEW Europe hosted the second meeting of the “Women in EU Finance Network”, bringing together women working in the EU financial and investment policy are to discuss gender issues in financial communication. The discussion informed by contributions from Letizia Lupini, Press Officer for Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, European Commission, Rebecca Christie, Writer/Journalist and Lynn Nicholson, Communication Director, Invest Europe.
Women in EU Finance – inaugural meeting
On 10 July 2018, ICAEW Europe launched the first discussion in a new light-touch initiative to bring together women working on EU finance and investment policy. Following a debate during last year’s Invest Week on how to encourage greater gender representation and awareness in financial policy, we hope the network will provide an informal platform to discuss related trends and regulatory developments while exploring the contributions made by (primarily) women in this area. The inaugural discussion was joined by Paulina Dejmek-Hack, Financial Adviser to the President of the European Commission, Kay Swinburne MEP, Vice-Chair of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, and Chris Muyldermans, Counsel Regulatory Affairs, Corporate Public Affairs, KBC.