Women Are Finding Slow But Steady Progress in Finance. Female executives are seeing more positive shifts in their quest for full equality.
Jeff Bounds reports: After coming to Dallas early in her banking career, Carla Brooks got a surprise at a private club atop a downtown skyscraper, where a man had invited her for a business lunch. “We had to go to a separate dining room where women were allowed,” the Midwest native says of that late 1970s episode. “The main dining room was part of the men’s section.” Things have changed for women executives like Brooks, who today manages private equity funds’ investments in banks for Dallas-based Commerce Street Investment Management.
Where finding women in the boss’ office was once scarce, Elaine Agather, who helms both the 12,000-employee North Texas operation for JPMorgan Chase and the 200-employee southern region of its private bank, says she not only has a female boss, but sees women running the company’s consumer bank and credit card business.
“It’s not been directed from above,” Agather says about women’s high-level roles at Chase. “It’s because we have received opportunities and the support to be successful here.”
Despite decades of diversity efforts, management and executive roles in banking and finance remain male-dominated, an issue that crosses industries and job duties. In 2015, women made up 2.8 percent of CEOs in 60 finance and insurance companies in the S&P 500, according to Catalyst, a New York-based research and advocacy nonprofit….Women are finding progress in Finance