Today is International Women’s Day (IWD) and the campaign theme for this year is #ChooseToChallenge.
A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions. We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality when we see it. To challenge is to take the first steps towards meaningful change.
The financial and professional services industry is not unfamiliar with gender inequality – on average a woman in her twenties today is set to retire with £100,000 less in her pension than a man the same age. Our national survey results showed that 64% of men said they were financially confident during the pandemic, versus only 54% of women, and the reported gender pay gap in financial services was still rising last year.
At Progeny, we believe equality is vital for a fair, balanced society. We choose to challenge inequalities and continue to strive for better by ensuring the women in our teams hold senior positions across the company, and welcome team members from all ethnicities and social backgrounds. Collectively, we can all challenge the norm and help create an inclusive world.
To mark #IWD2021, I spoke to our senior management team across Progeny share their #ChooseToChallenge commitments to call out bias, reject stereotypes and help to forge an inclusive world.
Sam Moxham, HR Director
“We can eradicate gender inequality when we lead without fear. Genuine equality gives us space to celebrate our differences and everyone deserves to be celebrated. As Progeny’s HR Director, I will continue to listen, question, advocate and act for equality within our business and industry, endlessly.”
Neil Moles, CEO
“Choosing to challenge is about taking an active role in addressing inequality and gender bias; being ready to check and question ourselves, as individuals, in our firms and across the sector.
“Many of the key pillars of Progeny’s multi-disciplinary service offering have been built by dynamic and entrepreneurial women, who are now part of our senior team, driving the business forward and helping to decide our strategic direction.
“At Progeny, questioning the status quo is what we do. It is by continuing to strive for better representation for women in the sectors we occupy, and by ensuring women hold senior positions across the business, that we will continue to choose to challenge inequality as we move forward.”
Charlotte Willis, Compliance Director
“Opportunity and respect should be a given in our industry and not a privilege reserved for a chosen few. My role is to empower others to have the skills, confidence and ability to speak out and make a valuable contribution every day, knowing they will be listened to and taken seriously. I am proud that Progeny is leading the way with the message that prejudice and inequality of any kind will not be tolerated in the workplace and beyond.”
Frances Davies, Director, Private Law
“Unconscious gender bias is alive and well in our industry. It isn’t always easy to call it out and we all need to get better at being brave enough and confident enough to do just that every time we witness it. It’s about awareness and education. We have a collective responsibility to create a gender balanced inclusive world.”
Patrick Leoni-Sceti, Director
“Progeny aims to deliver its unique advice proposition by having all your advisers in one room. This is because we believe that only by bringing different views and perspectives to the table can truly excellent client outcomes be achieved.
“Life can seldom be seen or appreciated through only one lens. Diversity is therefore a key ingredient in our recipe for success and today, on International Women’s day, we celebrate the unique insightfulness that having many women in our team, across all seniority levels, can bring. We are proud that over 56% of Progeny employees are women, in such a male dominated industry. If you want to see change, be the change!”
Amy Tyley, Marketing and Communications Director
“When diversity is authentically represented in marketing through real voices it empowers others and leads to truly inclusive cultures.”
Ian Hooper, Director, Asset Management
“Financial services has suffered with legacy issues around gender bias. At Progeny we are looking to overcome the past and set a new standard for the future.”
Caroline Hawkesley, Operations Director
“We must challenge the traditional. We must challenge the industry and create a profession that we are proud to be a part of, that has equality at the heart of it to ensure that the opportunities are equal without bias.”
Tim Thompson-Rye, Chief Technology Officer
“As a white, middle-class, straight and able-bodied man, I am very aware of my privilege. It doesn’t define me, but I have no doubt as to the effect it’s had on me. Unfortunately, we still live in a world where women, as well as other groups, are under-valued, under-paid and under-represented.
“I see my role as choosing to challenge the norms in an industry that is dominated by those from privileged backgrounds. I choose to create a diverse team where every member is valued not because of their demographics, but for the unique contributions they make. I’m very proud to be part of a firm that takes this seriously, and to work with some truly wonderful women! This International Women’s Day, let’s celebrate them and all the other women working to make the world a better place.”
Liz Pemberton, Learning & Development Director
“At school when we were making our qualification choices, I really wanted to study Technical Drawing. The teachers dissuaded me on the basis I would have been the only female in the class, and therefore the boys and I would be a distraction to each other. Looking back, I now think I share responsibility for that decision. Should I have had more courage? What would have happened if I had insisted? So in recognition of International Women’s Day, I #ChooseToChallenge myself and the women in my life to be brave, to have faith in themselves, to believe in what they can achieve. Sometimes that might mean asking for help, and that’s one of the bravest actions we can take.”
Freya Robertson, Executive PA to the CEO
“Young women have an important role to play in creating greater equality in financial services and whichever sectors they work in. With our careers stretching out ahead of us we have the time and the energy to make sure that the work that’s already underway not just continues, but continues to improve and increase in the years to come.”