Sexism in the City: new inquiry looking at barriers faced by women in financial services

The Treasury Committee has launched a call for evidence (snappily entitled Sexism in the City) in relation to barriers faced by women in the financial services industry.

The inquiry is open until 1 September 2023 and seeks views on various topics including the progress in removing barriers to women entering and progressing their carriers in the sector, the progress on removing gender pay gaps, and the role and progress of firms, the Government, and regulators in combatting sexual harassment and misogyny across the industry. 

The inquiry also seeks views on the role of the Government and financial regulators in acting as role models for good diversity practices, ensuring appropriate data is collected and published, and ensuring firm cultures, policies and practices support women’s aspirations and progress. 

The topics being considered by MPs are expansive. The inquiry seeks views from anyone who may wish to submit a response and welcomes evidence comparing the financial sector to other sectors, as well as international comparisons. Given the inquiry does not prescribe a formal set of questions for respondents to respond to like other consultation papers and inquiries have done, it could solicit a wide range of unstructured responses and views.

This inquiry follows the Treasury Committee’s previous inquiry in 2018 where it sought to encourage the progression of women in finance by abolishing ‘alpha male’ cultures and encourage firms to publish strategies for closing gender pay gaps and remove the stigma around men seeking flexible work. As part of the new inquiry the MPs will evaluate the industry’s progress on implementing the earlier recommendations, investigating if enough work has been done by firms to build more supportive workplace cultures.

“Has the culture in this highly paid sector shifted at all in the last five years? This is a subject of marked importance to our Committee and we look forward to beginning work on this important topic.”

- Harriett Baldwin MP, Chair of the Treasury Committee -

This inquiry comes at a time when we are still waiting for the regulators’ delayed joint consultation on diversity in financial services, following its Summer 2021 Discussion Paper (you can read more about this via the links below). We are expecting the Consultation to land in Autumn 2023 and so we should expect more coverage on these issues and continued closer scrutiny on firms in the coming months. 

Further reading: 

Treasury Committee inquiry 2023 
Linklaters Diversity in Financial Services campaign
Linklaters publication – The Financial Services Regulators Joint Approach to D&I