According to a study by Renee B. Adams and Jing Xu, the gender diversity of thought leadership in the finance world is lower than in most other academic fields. Finance was ranked 132nd in a total of 175 fields, with only 10.3% of women in thought leadership positions. Despite this, the research shows that women outperform their male peers. 

Why are women so underrepresented in the finance world?

According to the report, finance tends to be less welcoming to women than other academic fields. The article provides two pieces of evidence to prove this. 

First, the authors demonstrate that female leaders in this field are more successful than their male peers. This was proved by using different variables, such as the times their work was cited by other scholars. The report explains this by stating that women have to face more difficult challenges. 

The study also shows how men’s beliefs about the level of inner talent needed to succeed in the field, instead of skills such as motivation and effort, are directly correlated to women’s representation in the finance world. 

Lack of diversity equals less innovation

A lack of diversity in the finance sector is problematic for several reasons. For instance, research demonstrated that diversity is directly correlated with innovation.

Moreover, this gender gap may contribute to the lack of women’s interest in finance, which is highly concerning given the low rate of financial literacy in several countries. 

According to the report, in order to change this situation, leaders of finance associations as well as universities should encourage discussions on these topics. The article also urges finance organizations to be more transparent about the processes used to hire their leaders.