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Women in the workplace – another take


The gap between men and women is still very significant when it comes to employees in the top ranks of the financial sector. That is, there are still very few women in senior executive roles at Canada’s financial institutions. Worse yet, there are currently no women in line for a chief executive officer position at a big bank.

Am I surprised? Not really. I have discussed this issue a few times: here, here and here.

So when I examine what has been going on in most industries these days, particularly the traditionally male-dominated industries, it does not surprise me one bit. It also does not surprise me when I see people in 2010 predicting that we may see women in these top executive roles in the next 20 years. But it is disheartening, as I did the same kind of predicting in 1990; I expected to see women in these roles in 20 years and it hasn’t happened, despite the numbers of women who became educated and qualified for these positions.

What worries me is that the current culture will remain in place because it has taken place for years and continues to be promoted within the male-dominated office culture. Women who have been shut out by the culture are no longer there to create change; they already left the environment for greener pastures. Unless we try to address the problem now, we will continue to make these kinds of empty predictions in 20 years.

Some say that women want a work-life balance so that means they cannot aspire to be in executive roles. But does it explain why women who are already in less senior executive positions are being overlooked when the banks look for and start recruiting CEOs?

Interestingly, it appears to be more common for women in the credit union sector to advance into more senior roles. Could it have something to do with the appointment process? Could differing methods of selection compared to the traditional appointment method by boards of directors generate different results?

What do you think?

Christina Catenacci
First Reference Human Resources and Compliance Editor

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Christina Catenacci

Christina Catenacci, BA, LLB, LLM, was called to the Ontario Bar in 2002 and has since been a member of the Ontario Bar Association. Christina worked as an editor with First Reference between February 2005 and August 2015, working on publications including The Human Resources Advisor (Ontario, Western and Atlantic editions), HRinfodesk discussing topics in Labour and Employment Law. Christina has decided to pursue a PhD at the University of Western Ontario beginning in the fall of 2015. Read more
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