Women in IR: All the IR issues covered

Mar 07, 2019
Ahead of International Women’s Day, Andrew Holt looks at the leading related topics covered by IR Magazine over the last 12 months

When it comes to women in IR and the many issues the topic raises, IR Magazine has established unequalled and comprehensive coverage.  

For example, for an in-depth discussion on women in investor relations, the IR Magazine Forum – Women in IR Europe discussed a range of issues, with speakers agreeing that while targets matter, they can also undermine women.

Looking at the issue another way, if society continues at its current rate, it will be 217 years before gender equality is reached, according to evidence put forward at IR Magazine’s Women in IR Forum Canada. 

Elsewhere, IR Magazine uncovered the much-discussed glass ceiling and a gender pay gap in the IR profession. 

According to one search consultant, however, ‘genuine interest’ exists in getting more women into top IR roles

And this is indeed happening: in May last year IR Magazine revealed that the NYSE is to be run by a woman for the first time in its 226-year history, with the announcement that Stacey Cunningham was becoming the exchange’s 67th president.

When it came to changing the business cultural dynamic, IR Magazine offered up five tips to improve the number of women in senior IR positions. 

Within the same cultural considerations, Patricia Lenkov made some thought-provoking points on what IR professionals need to think about in the #MeToo era. 

And on the subject of challenging cultural conventions, it may come as a surprise that around 40 percent of IR professionals in the Middle East are women.

On the same dynamic, but from an even more positive perspective, the 30% Club celebrated hitting its US board diversity targets in August. 

It also revealed that 27 global investors with £10.5 tn ($14 tn) in assets under management now support the 30% Club’s aims of promoting more women to senior positions – that’s a lot of money and powerful companies supporting the cause.  

That said, when it comes to business culture there is arguably no bigger issue than the gender pay gap, with Karen Almeida arguing that it needs to move higher up businesses’ to-do lists. 

It is also worth noting that when men come into IR from a corporate finance background they are more likely than women from the same background to be paid well and be head of IR, according to IR Magazine research. But looking more deeply at career paths into IR, the research also finds that those coming from a capital markets background get closest to gender parity: a fascinating insight. 

For Deborah Gilshan, reporting on gender pay gaps has so far proved something of a cathartic exercise, but diversity overall is emerging as an economic and strategic imperative

Companies such as State Street Global Advisors have picked up the gauntlet, expanding diversity engagement in Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

Offering a contrarian perspective, research from the US-based Bella Research Group and the Miami-based non-profit John S and James L Knight Foundation asserts that diversity is no boost to performance at asset management firms.  

And covering everything from egg freezing to gender reassignment, IR Magazine talked to Kiersten Barnet, manager of Bloomberg’s Gender-Equality Index

Looking at the work of an IRO, Carol DiRaimo, chief investor relations and corporate communications officer at Jack in the Box, gets credit for running an award-winning one-person IR team. A great insight was also offered by Ford IRO Lynn Antipas Tyson in an in-depth interview about her impressive work. 

Finally, summing up the current position well, this IR Magazine research states clearly: ‘Women in IR: A work in progress.’ 

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