Investec’s Women Behind the Mask initiative is a series of robust conversations which showcases women making a difference, and how women can help other women to move South Africa forward. In this second edition of the webcast series, 2016 Fellow Cumesh Moodliar, who is the Head of Private Banking at Investec, chaired a panel of women who are leaders in banking and financial markets. They discussed the impact that women in leadership had had on decisions made during lockdown for COVID-19.
The panel comprised Fundi Tshazibana, the Deputy Governor at the Reserve Bank; Tertia Jacobs, a Treasury Economist at Investec Bank SA; Leila Fourie, the Group CEO of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange; Rene van Zyl, a Tax & Fiduciary Specialist at Investec Wealth & Investment; and Ruth Leas, the CEO of Investec Bank UK.
The panel discussed how crises like pandemics, depressions and wars have a way of advancing changes in the world that needed to take place. The two world wars advanced the inclusion of women in the workforce due to women taking on roles while men were serving in the army. After the First World War, many countries introduced universal adult suffrage. So, too, COVID-19 has seen women shine in positions of leadership. The panelists said that a silver lining might be the opportunities it may provide in helping women reach equality.
They made the case that while women are more empowered than they once were, in many ways the Covid-19 crisis has also highlighted how much work still needs to be done. They said that the gender pay gap remains wide and can be as much as 45% in large companies, and that this needs to be tackled vigorously. Ruth pointed out one way in which transparency can make this easier - in the UK, companies are required to disclose executive remuneration by gender.
You can read more about the series, watch the video or play a podcast of the piece at the Investec site.
For a short summary of some of the insights and learnings from the Women Behind the Mask, there is a short one minute clip on the Investec LinkedIn account.