Welcome to the W3BF website. I hope you will find this an important resource tool as a woman in banking and finance.
Last summer, while discussing projects for our Summer Interns, one of the applicants, from Sri Lanka but at university in the UK, asked if she could research global careers for women in banking and finance as her project. Her preliminary research proposal did not really tell the W3BF Internship Committee anything we did not already suspect: women in the sector were decreasing in some markets, increasing in others, not making any progress at all in still others. Various corporate women-focused initiatives (mainly major international banks) had been in existence for some time, while some women in business, legal and finance social networking associations in the USA had been around since the 1950s. Globally, the first LinkedIn professional networking Groups for women in banking and finance appeared mainly since 2008 and seemed to be limited to the USA and the UK claiming members from 100 to 10,000. There were IFC led programmes in Africa for women in banking focused mainly on microfinance. Women made up the highest percentage of Russian-speaking bank Board members but this is changing with privatisation. More women than men worked in the largest global banks especially in China and throughout Africa and at all levels of authority and responsibility.
But we approved her project, and to support our upcoming report on women in banking and finance in emerging markets we thought to create a not-for-profit organisation, a website, LinkedIn Discussion Group and a Scholarship Fund. What were our parameters?
First, to get ‘beyond the pink’ issues. Next, to focus on banking and finance business and leave the social networking conferences, award ceremonies, dinners and events to others. Lastly to be truly global, which meant reaching out to women beyond the current mature financial centres and helping connect them to each other.
As we started to speak to women among our global banking and finance contacts we asked what you would like to get out of a women's network that you do not get now?
The answers were clear and simple. The top of the list was to up skill and be able to compete. They wish to enhance their own careers by developing a global mindset with practical executive training and to connect with other women at different stages of their careers.
So Welcome to W3BF. We look forward to your making this your global resource as you need it.