Britain can step in to get more women in top finance jobs

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Workers walk to work during the morning rush hour in the Canary Wharf financial district in London, Britain January 26, 2017. REUTERS / Eddie Keogh

Workers walk to work during the morning rush hour in London’s Canary Wharf financial district

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LONDON (Reuters) – UK banks, insurers and other financial firms may need to set tougher targets to attract women to top positions, UK Financial Services Minister John Glen said on Tuesday.

Some 300 financial companies have publicly adhered to the Voluntary Charter for Women in Finance launched in 2016 by the Ministry of Finance. In 2015, only 14% of the members of the executive committee were women.

The number of registrants compares to just over 200 companies in March of last year, when a review found that progress towards meeting targets by 2020 was slow.

Glen said he will be looking at a progress review in March, which will give the latest figures on how each company that has signed up is progressing towards their internal goals.

But there may still be a long way to go to increase the number of women in leadership positions, the minister said at a diversity conference hosted by retail investment organization PIMFA.

“I’m not going to hold back as we look at next month’s report, and we look at what other interventions are needed by the government to take a meaningful step forward in this critical area,” said Glen.

“The focus now needs to be on how to maximize its impact. I think we’re doing that by pushing ourselves to bigger goals through the use of evidence-based interventions.”

The companies that have signed the charter set their own internal objectives in terms of gender diversity and publish them.

The charter aims for a gender balance at all levels of a company, starting with having internal objectives of diversity and publication of progress each year, with the remuneration of senior executives being linked to the achievement of the objectives.

(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Catherine Evans)


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