Voice of the Industry

The unsaid reality of women in the workplace

Monday 8 March 2021 09:32 CET | Editor: Mirela Ciobanu | Voice of the industry

On International Women’s Day, Kelly Cutchin, Country Head at moneycorp Americas talks about the importance of women in leadership roles within organisations to support workplace parity and diversity

When the world stopped in March of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was no secret we would be faced with an economic crisis, unlike anything we’ve seen since the Great Depression. But what we didn’t see coming would be the overwhelmingly disproportionate unemployment numbers of women versus men. For the first time in many of our lives, we are seeing double-digit unemployment rates that haven’t been reached since 1948. In other words, women have lost more than three decades of progress in just the span of a few months.

The recession, or ‘she-cession’, that followed the pandemic has, unfortunately, impacted more women than men. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women accounted for more than half of the 20.5 million jobs lost in April 2020, effectively increasing the unemployment rate for adult women to about 15% from only 3.1% just two months earlier, while adult men accounted for only 13%. Even more shocking is the fact that almost one year later, of the 346,000 US adults who stopped working altogether as of January 2021, over 80% were women, according to the National Women's Law Center.

We must ask ourselves, both men and women alike, ‘what can we do to reverse this catastrophic decline?’ The answer may not be simple, but we must start somewhere. Companies should start by addressing the inequality that women face by building (and maintaining) a more balanced and welcoming corporate culture. As a woman in a leadership role, believing that your voice is equal to that of your male counterparts is critical, to say the least. 

In 2006, I joined moneycorp as an administrative assistant completing daily tasks such as answering phones and making coffee before moving into a sales role where I was onboarding clients. A few years of that followed by a couple years as an Account Manager, I finally took on my current position as Country Manager. Passion and commitment, along with moneycorp’s mission for growth and inclusion, are what brought me here today.

Getting more female representation in finance is important for the future of the industry. According to a 2020 report by McKinsey and Company, there is an undeniable relationship between diversity in executive teams and the likelihood of financial outperformance. In fact, companies with more than 30% of women executives were more likely to outperform companies than those with little to no women at all, according to the same report. At Moneycorp, 46% of the workforce are women, unlike many other companies within the finance industry. The environment that this has created for me and other women in the organisation has been welcoming and inclusive.

Even with data supporting women in executive roles, companies continue to block women from top-level positions. In 2019, women’s global representation on executive committees in major financial services firms was just 20%. Unfortunately, this biased behaviour among companies has caused an ‘ambition gap’ to occur among women with only 26% of women in financial services envisioning themselves at a top executive position as opposed to 40% of their male counterparts. However, we must be clear that women and men are both just as ambitious. The issue lies within companies that have historically blocked the path to leadership, not family status or motherhood, contrary to what many may think. With a lack of examples to look up to and companies creating blurred lines for women to reach the top, women’s ambitions are eroding faster than men’s within firms that do not value gender diversity. As companies continue to evolve, women who secure leadership roles within the finance industry should set an example and become sponsors to entry-level executives to build a stronger foundation that will help combat this behaviour going forward. 

As we look back at the history of women in the workplace, we can see how much women have progressed. It was only 1964 when title VII of the Civil Rights Act was passed, prohibiting sex discrimination in employment. A promising step towards closing the gender gap considering just about 100 years earlier ‘citizens’ and ‘voters’ were defined as male in the Constitution. But unfortunately, it may take another 100 years to achieve gender equality based on the current rate of progress. Society has made significant strides towards gender equality but, we still have much more to go. 

In 2021, it is necessary to have the conversations to incite positive change. Together we can shine a light on the untold truth about women in the workplace.

About Kelly Cutchin

In 2006 Kelly joined the Moneycorp Team based out of their Orlando Florida Office.

Since then, she has held various positions within the Moneycorp group. In December 2012, she took on the role of Country Manager for Moneycorp's USA operations where she leads a team of foreign exchange experts who work very closely with their global offices. Educating professionals on the importance of understanding the foreign exchange market and helping Realtors promote their businesses internationally are a few of Kelly’s initiatives and passions.


About moneycorp

The moneycorp group serves the growing foreign exchange and payments needs of global businesses, importers and exporters, online sellers, and personal clients.

From offering the sophisticated structured products and multi-currency accounts that corporate treasurers demand through to accessing wholesale banknotes, moneycorp exists to provide a better alternative to banks.

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Keywords: payment institution, financial services, COVID-19
Countries: World