Veteran female bankers launch International Council for Women in Finance
About two months ago, Deloitte released a report that women occupy only19.7 percent of seats on executive globally, and that there is a disproportion between the percentage of women on boards of directors and their percentage in senior executive positions.
6.7 percent hold the position of chairman of the board of directors, and less than them (5 percent) hold the position of chief executive officer.
These figures explain the objectives of the World Council on Financial Services in the global financial markets.
This board, according to the statement issued by the founders, is an entity that was initiated by female banking veterans who hold positions in executive departments in the financial sector.
The statement said that female bankers from the Middle East will play a leading role in this council, which was “established with the aim of correcting the imbalance and gender equality in assuming responsibilities at all administrative levels in the financial sector.”
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) says that increasing the number of women in the workforce in the Middle East and North Africa could raise the region’s gross domestic product by as much as 57 percent, or $2 trillion. It notes that in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the three largest economies in the region, less than 20 percent of all senior managers are women.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia recently appointed Sheila Al-Ruwaili as the first Saudi woman to be a member of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA).
Hana El-Hilaly, a prominent Egyptian Arab banker, told Economy Middle East on the sidelines of the council’s launch that “it will be a unique platform through which best practices, experiences and knowledge will be exchanged at the regional and global levels, and will also help empower and inspire women leaders in the financial sector.”
El-Hilaly is a member of the United Nations Economic and Social Council’s high-level Panel of Independent Advisers on the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, and is an expert in the SME sector, banking, international relations and sustainable development.
El-Hilaly, who is the Executive Director of “Al-Kheir Finance for Small Projects” and executive advisor to the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Egyptian Arab Land Bank, stressed the need for women to occupy equally with men executive positions in the banking services sector, financial technology institutions and financial services in general.
El-Hilaly spoke about the Egyptian experience in involving women in the labor market and in decision-making positions, strressing that 25 percent of government members in Egypt are women, and the same applies to women in parliament.
She pointed out that the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority has become a requirement that the formation of the boards of directors of companies whose securities are listed on the Egyptian Stock Exchange, and companies operating in non-banking financial activities, include women elements. Either the formation of the boards of directors of these companies includes at least two female members, or the percentage of women’s representation shall not be less than 25 percent of the boards of directors of these companies.
One of the council’s objectives is that the council will enable professional women in the banking and financial sector to build on their advanced scientific and operational capabilities, to exchange knowledge and experiences through closed council meetings, international conferences, special interest groups, newsletters, training and management development programs.
The council had announced the appointment of the Lebanese banker, Alia Al-Sabbouri, as the council’s ambassador for the Europe, Middle East and Africa region.