CU*Answers, a 100% credit union-owned CUSO, held their 13th annual 2017 “CEO Strategies Week” conference last week in Grand Rapids, Michigan. CEOs from 70 credit unions and CUSOs from across the country gathered for three days of collaboration, learning, and direct peer interactions aimed specifically at credit union CEOs.
By Lynn Heckler, EVP, Chief Talent Officer for PSCU
Women’s Equality Day is celebrated on Aug. 26 each year. It commemorates the 1920 adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment granting women the right to vote and has been celebrated in the U.S. since 1973. While much progress has been made in the area of gender equality since that time, digging a bit beneath the surface unearths some telling trends.
The bad news
Here are some global stats, based on research conducted by Filene, to consider as it relates to gender parity:
- Women generate 65 percent of consumer discretionary spending, but their presence in the economy and representation in leadership roles remains unbalanced
- Women are 20 percent less likely than men to have a formal bank account and often lack access to savings, credit and other financial services
- The World Economic Forum predicts the gender gap will not close entirely until 2186
When it comes to the credit union industry, some progress has been made, but not enough. Women are still very under represented in senior leadership positions within the industry, and the disparity becomes especially apparent when you look at credit union asset size. In the U.S., women make up 70 percent of credit union employees, yet only 53 percent of all federally insured credit unions have female CEOs and 20 percent have female board presidents.
The good news
Credit unions were founded on the cooperative principle, and nondiscrimination is a tenant of that principle, making credit unions inherently more likely to be receptive to ideas surrounding gender parity.