08 MAR 2019

Women Supporting Women: Make Gender Equality an Economic Imperative

This International Women's Day, Anna Skoglund, a partner in our Investment Banking Division, reflects on the importance of driving women’s economic empowerment. 

By Anna Skoglund

International Women's Day, 08 March 2019

As I look back at the events we held at Goldman Sachs in London this week to celebrate International Women’s Day, I am both excited and optimistic. Excited about the accelerating momentum we are currently seeing, and optimistic about the future.

We held a truly inspiring event this morning for a group of our 10,000 Small Businesses UK women-led business owners and women clients of the firm; these women are driving real change in the communities in which they live and work; creating jobs, innovating and driving economic growth while setting an example of what is possible if you just dare. The positivity, ambition and success in the room was tangible. I also participated in a panel discussion with two other recently promoted women partners to share our career paths, the hurdles we met along the way, and our belief in the importance of paying it forward for our future women leaders.

The women who took part in these events come from many different backgrounds and cultures, but I noted some common attributes that have been vital to me, and have no doubt helped contribute to their success:

  • Authenticity: have the courage to be yourself, recognize your weaknesses and use your strengths, drive change by being unapologetically you;
  • Resilience: things will go wrong, we will make mistakes – pause, reflect and do the Next Right Thing;
  • Humility: an individuals’ success is also a reflection of the contributions and hard-work of their teams and of the support of family and friends.

These are traits which I believe we should all embrace.

When reflecting on the past few years, it is wonderful that this topic has become a real top-of-mind business issue. Diversity and how to move the needle on inclusive cultures, representation and accessibility is by no means a new topic, but what is changing is who makes up the audience. The C-suite engagement and business leader ownership for driving change and delivering results in this area is a noteworthy and critical difference.

This is reflective of our approach. Senior leaders, responsible for significant parts of our businesses globally, are driving this agenda and are demanding measurable results and meaningful progress. Our own experience tells us that if you apply the right focus change will follow.  Specifically, we are proud to have increased the number of women analysts joining our 2019 class by 4% to now represent 48%; a small but significant step towards our aspiration of women representing 50% of the firm in time.

We believe that gender equality is an economic imperative in today’s world and a strategic imperative for our firm. What I’ve seen this week could not underscore this more. When women lead, markets grow and communities prosper. When women lead, everything changes. And the need to attract, develop, retain and progress the brightest and best talent has never been more important.

Wishing everyone a very happy International Women’s Day!

 

More from this series:

Women Supporting Women: Advice to Women – The Power of Networking
Women Supporting Women: Advice to Women – Be Empowered by Feedback
Women Supporting Women: Advice to Women Starting Their Careers
Women Supporting Women:  Advice to Women on Resilience