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Africa Ahead of Europe in Female Inclusion in Finance, Says CEO of 100WF

An employee of the national agency of the BCEAO (Central Bank of West African States) collects a 1992-edition banknotes, 15 September 2004 in Abidjan, on the first day of the campaign to replace old banknotes with new ones across the eight countries of the Economic and Monetary Union of West Africa. InternationalIndiaAfricaMuhammad Nooh OsmanWriter/Editor100 Women in Finance (100WF) is an international non-profit organization that promotes women’s presence in the finance field. Its CEO’s comments come as the world commemorates International Women’s Day, which serves as a reminder of women’s significant contribution to the development of their communities and the world at large.Many African countries are more progressive than some of their European counterparts when it comes to the inclusion of women in the financial industry, said Amanda Pullinger, CEO of 100 Women in Finance, an international non-profit organization that aims to strengthen women’s presence in finance.

"I get to travel the world, our 32 locations are literally across five continents. And I think what’s surprising when people say to me, you know, where are the best places in the world for professionals in this industry? Where are the worst places? They might be surprised that actually South Africa and Nigeria and Kenya, where we are located on the continent, are actually doing relatively well compared with the likes of places like Germany and Switzerland, where there’s enormous stigma still around highly educated women with families working," she said.

While many firms on the African continent have made significant progress in including women in the financial sector, Pullinger acknowledged that more needs to be done.A few days before International Women’s Day during her visit to South Africa, where the organization established an office in June 2022, Pullinger challenged South African business leaders to increase female participation in leadership positions in the financial industry, a field that remains largely male-dominated.AfricaInternational Women’s Day in Africa: Achievements, Aspirations, Challenges8 March, 08:07 GMTAccording to the businesswoman, 100 Women in Finance uses education to change the perception of who can be a CEO or CFO at a corporation. The organization offers free membership to female university students studying finance, as well as a free jumpstart program to improve their understanding of the industry.

"We believe that there are opportunities in the world for women to come into this industry to find opportunities internationally through the skill set of whether it's being an analyst in the industry, or on the operational side or in the business development or marketing side," Pullinger added. "There are amazing opportunities in this industry for the next generation."

The 100WF director also said that 40% of CEOs in the financial industry and chairs of boards in Nigeria are women, demonstrating that there are firms that are creating more opportunities for females across the African continent.As the world celebrates International Women’s Day on March 8, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, also known as UN Women, marks this year’s event under the theme «Digital innovation and technology for gender equality.»

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