Insight & Analysis

Impact of the global pandemic on gender equality

Published: Aug 2020

Treasury Today Group remains committed to gender equality and inclusion at all levels. One of the issues that we are currently assessing is the impact of the global pandemic on female representation, inclusion and equality.

Gender Equality

Recent reports have focused on the impact the pandemic is already having on women across the board, but of particular relevance is the impact on older women in the workforce. The pandemic is leading to early retirement for many. Although there is no global data set yet analysing the impact of the pandemic upon retirement ages, separate reports from the US and the UK highlight this evolving issue and the interplaying forces behind it. The UN has also released various research reports over the past few months focusing on the disproportionate experience of women, particularly non-white women, as the impact of the pandemic plays out.

A recent gender pension gap report from UK-based financial advisory firm Fintuity focused specifically on the UK, with the data showing the gap between the pensions accrued by men and women to be widening.

As Ed Downpatrick, Strategy Director at Fintuity explains, “This issue is going to have a significant impact on the already worrying pensions gap that is afflicting UK society. Our recent research revealed that men accumulate £135,000 more than women for their pension by the time they are ready to access it, and a 50-year old woman would need to save an additional £5,300 every year in order to catch up. Due to COVID-19 however, these figures are going to quite rapidly grow a lot worse, and it’s important that this problem be tackled head on, with new support initiatives put in place and encouraged by employers to ensure women aren’t forced out of their jobs.”

Working for improvement

These reports, coupled with broader data showing women to be more greatly impacted by early retirement, is of concern for us. Within our corporate community, Treasury Today has been working on our soon-to-be-released Women in Treasury Global Study, focused on women and male allies in treasury. This year’s Study has gathered over 200 global responses from spring until the beginning of July and will be released in September this year. We will use this data to focus on these issues as they apply to our corporate community.

We have also been having conversations with our community across the world as we analyse the impact of the pandemic upon the issues of inclusion and diversity and female representation. This allows us to offer guidance as we move from data to action around the impact of remote working and increased pressure upon global treasury teams. Our latest conversation with our focus roundtable in the Greater New York City region is available to view in full detail here and coverage from our July APAC Women in Treasury Forum will be released shortly. Of particular interest for those of all ages within the industry is how to both give and receive the help that we all need to avoid our development freezing during the pandemic.

During our recent APAC Forum, guest Sonia Clifton-Bligh of Johnson & Johnson asked how, in a remote working environment, can mentees and mentors find one another and establish a relationship? Responses from Tiana Sheridan of BlackRock and Rashmi Joshi of Castrol India focused on the imperative to approach those that we wish to seek guidance from during these challenging times.

The move to digital engagement can indeed present challenges, however it also opens up access to a wider range of both contacts and events, given that physical geography no longer presents the same challenges to engagement. Video meetings can be highly effective provided that we treat them with the same level of attention and preparation as in-person engagements. Particularly given the apparent ongoing nature of the global pandemic, adapting to the new environment and making sure that it presents rather than prevents opportunities is critical. We look forward to presenting our 2020 Women in Treasury Global Study results in September and to working together with our global community to response to the data with solutions and strategies for your ongoing success.

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