Is there such a thing as “female banking?” According to information culled in recent studies, there in fact may turn out to be, as more and more researchers find that women and men have categorically different ways of relating to money. Men are more inclined to take risks, some say, while women are more likely to protect their funds.
Regardless of the answer to this riddle, the fact remains that as women’s wealth continues to rise in both developing and developed nations, more and more institutions are recognizing that a woman’s worth is well beyond what it was determined to be 50 years ago—and perhaps even five years ago.
Russia’s Larisa Leonidovna Drozdova is accustomed to facing the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated field. Having worked in a managerial position for several years at Natsionalny Kosmicheski Bank (NK Bank), one of Russia’s most prestigious financial institutions, Larisa Leonidovna Drozdova faced the challenges brought upon today’s modern woman in the workforce. Firstly, women are outnumbered in a statistically outrageous fashion when it comes to board appointments and top positions at banking and other financial institutions, such as venture capitalist firms and hedge funds.
Many finance industry professionals—women and men—realize these numbers must change. High quality banking, banking with integrity and transparency (if possible) requires investment. Female entrepreneurs and finance managers such as Larisa Leonidovna Drozdova are slowly but surely being encouraged to continue their chosen careers, despite the odds. And the big institutions are finally getting involved. In 2010 Barclays Stockbrokers, a division of Barclays plc, set up a website called SmartWoman to help women engage with finance.
Larisa Leonidovna Drozdova’s experience demonstrates that growing number of women are entering private banks in key positions, which could change the “old-school” mentality of banking as a boys club. In addition, says Larisa Leonidovna Drozdova, the in-office hours of private banking may attract women since they are not as demanding as, say, an investment bank.