International Women’s Day

Comments provided by Kate Cowan, Chief Financial Officer at Hope Capital.

I started my career in the world of finance in 2002, working for various organisations for a number of years before moving to Hope Capital in 2019 where I currently hold the position of Chief Financial Officer.

First and foremost, despite making great strides over the years, women still face many challenges when it comes to working in a field that has traditionally been dominated by men. Whether that be through opportunities provided in the first instance, promotions being passed up or equal pay, this issue still very much exists.

That said, there are a number of factors driving change, including the increasing participation of women in the workforce, women in leadership positions and the growing recognition and awareness around diversity and inclusion in the sector. As the finance industry continues to develop, I feel very confident women will play an even more prominent role in its future.

Having a 12-year-old daughter myself, I feel very responsible to use my position and platform to support the battle in overcoming these challenges. Determination and a strong work ethic is of course key, but we need to provide support in the early stages through education.

My advice would be to be bold. It’s very easy to be influenced by the people around you, especially your male counterparts, but stand up for what you believe in, put yourself forward – you’ll regret fading into the background, I promise.

I’ve had to work extremely hard to get to where I am today, especially coming from a family ran business in a male dominated industry. Luckily, I saw how my mum navigated around this as the only woman, proving that she was equal and could jointly run the business. That’s why I strongly believe that strong female role models are the best encouragement you could ask for – something I hope I am to my daughter when she enters the world of work.

Looking at where I am today, I am so proud to be a part of a team where 48% of our total workforce are represented by females and 78% of our Senior Management board are women. Hope Capital is unlike anywhere I’ve worked before, creating equal opportunities for all. We are so lucky to have our CEO, Jonathan Sealey who shares the same passion and vision for equity in the workplace. If all companies had this mindset, then there would be no issue.

Ultimately, it’s a sad state of affairs this is still a discussion point, however spreading awareness and talking openly is essential to ensure this diminishes. What can be done? Celebrate women’s achievements, create positive visibility of women, call out gendered assumptions or actions. We all have a role to play in this.

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