Follow TopicFollow Contributor Share Feedback
UK Parliament Reports on Efforts to Tackle Sexism in Finance

UK Parliament Reports on Efforts to Tackle Sexism in Finance

by Starling Insights

Starling Insights Editorial Board

Mar 13, 2024


Last week, the UK House of Commons Treasury Committee issued a report detailing the findings of its inquiry into sexism in the financial sector, concluding that efforts to resolve these issues are moving at a "snail's pace."

"Firms must take responsibility for improving their culture," said Harriett Baldwin, Chair of the Treasury Committee. "There have been several high-profile cases which show the existential risk to firms who don't tackle sexual misconduct... Regulators and the Government also have a role to play but they need to think carefully about what will deliver the best outcomes and avoid introducing tick-box exercises."

Many respondents to the inquiry emphasized establishing inclusive cultures as the most important factor for improving diversity. "If I had to pick out the overarching driver of what needs to change, it is culture," Karen Northey, Director of Corporate Affairs at The Investment Association, told the Committee. "A lot of that is culture within individual firms. It starts at the beginning of someone's career."

Despite these observations, the recommendations in the report focus instead on updates to systems, policies, and procedures, areas that constitute formal management structures in an organization. These include:

  • Legislation to ban the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in sexual harassment cases;
  • Stronger protections for whistleblowers; and
  • Reducing the size threshold for gender pay gap reporting.

While these recommendations are well-meaning and would likely be beneficial, they ignore the underlying culture and related informal structures that allow sexism and harassment to persist. In a contribution to our upcoming 2024 Compendium, Elizabeth Broderick, the Former Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner, will discuss how leaders can address these cultural shortcomings in their organizations. To learn more about the 2024 Compendium, click here.

Join The Discussion

See something that doesn't look quite right?

We strive to provide high quality and accurate content at all times. With that said, we realize that sometimes links break, new information becomes available, or there is something that you feel we may have missed.

If you see something that you think we should be aware of, we would love to hear from you. Feel free to drop us a note below and leave your name and contact info if you'd like to hear back from us.

Thank you for being a key part of the Starling Insights community!