Is the Private Equity Space doing enough to represent women?

Is the Private Equity Space doing enough to represent women?
Posting date:10 Dec 2018

Following on from the research I had published in the PE Forum, I was invited to attend a PEI’s Women event.

It was an inspirational morning with thought-leaders and industry experts discussing methods they could use to improve the gender balance within the industry. 

Dan McCarthy spoke about the grass-roots initiatives used to encourage female school leavers into a career in finance while Jim Strang spoke of reverse-mentoring as a great place to start. Something we have also advocated as a great tool to improve diversity.

What interested me the most, was the topic of gender-balanced shortlists. 

As a Principal Consultant specialising in the Private Equity space I make it my mission to promote all categories on the diversity spectrum when presenting a shortlist to a client. Presenting a shortlist which represents all genders, ethnicities and abilities while ensuring each is highly competent and completely suitable for the job can be a challenge. 

You can’t sacrifice competencies in aid of diversity but you can’t neglect equalities either. While it’s often a challenge, it’s something I pride myself in being able to achieve and something that Deborah Zurkow of Alianz Global Investors said reinvested my faith that my clients appreciate the effort. She will reject a shortlist that isn’t gender balanced and it makes me wonder how many other leaders would do the same.

Private Equity Firms are playing their part in the move to recruit and promote more women but how many of you would reject a shortlist that wasn’t gender balanced?