The LSB has an ongoing commitment to gender equality, celebrating women’s achievements, and driving diversity and inclusion in the workplace. To mark International Women’s Day, we spoke to our Chief Executive, Emma Lovell, about the importance of this movement to herself and the LSB.
Over the time I’ve worked within financial services, I’ve seen a marked improvement in organisations striving for inclusion and diversity within their teams, but there’s still a long way to go to create a gender equal world.
Research has shown that within the financial services industry, senior positions held by women have improved year on year, but there is still a way to go, and so it’s vital that we maintain focus and drive in this space, not just for women, but for all underrepresented groups.
This year, the theme of International Women’s Day is Embrace Equity – to create an inclusive world where everyone has equal opportunities. At the LSB, I’m proud to be a part of a diverse team, but inclusion is about much more than just having a diverse group of people around the table, it’s about giving everyone a voice, championing inclusion in all that you do, and for us, that includes setting the bar high for our registered firms too.
To that end, last year we updated our Standards of Lending Practice for personal customers to ensure that banks, lenders and building societies who have signed up to the Standards have inclusive design and services embedded within their customer journey.
Later in the year in the business space, we produced a report on inclusion in business banking for disabled customers and people with other access needs, providing vital insights from organisations and individuals in these communities. We are now embarking on producing a report looking at how firms can be more inclusive for the d/Deaf communities, and a further report exploring how firms can better support ethnic minority business owners to access lending and banking and grow their businesses.
The business Standards themselves will also be reviewed and updated later this year with inclusion at the forefront of considerations. We hope these changes to our Standards and accompanying reports will help to drive forward inclusion for our registered firms.
Ultimately, to live in a truly gender equal world, everyone needs to champion inclusivity. We need men and women to champion other women – everyone deserves to have others be their advocate and help them see their own potential. Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate to have found people who done this for me and have helped me drive forward my ambitions and develop my experience, and at the LSB, I’m surrounded by a strong and supportive executive team of women who inspire me daily, and a wider team of men and women who share this passion for equity within financial services and beyond.
My advice to other women within the industry and looking to advance, or for those who are thinking about joining the industry – be your authentic self, champion those around you to help them achieve their potential, find champions and mentors who will advocate for you and can be your sounding board and help you really strive for your potential (especially when you can be your own worst critic!) and know that with the right people and support network around you, you can and will achieve anything you put your mind to.