Women in IR networking evenings: All dates confirmed
Starting on Wednesday, September 13, in London, IR Magazine is kicking off a series of networking events focused on women in IR.
The London event, at Edelman’s London offices and in association with the IR consultancy, will be followed in New York on Thursday, September 14, at Convene in Midtown Manhattan. The New York event is in association with Edelman and Cowen and Company.
The following week sees the event head west to San Francisco, where Women in IR will hit Wine & Wall, and be held in association with NIRI’s San Francisco chapter on Tuesday, September 19. The final event is scheduled for Toronto at the offices of TD Bank and in association with Edelman, Fortis and TD Bank on Wednesday, October 4.
But why focus on women in IR? Recent IR Magazine research reveals that while there’s an almost even male-to-female split across the profession as a whole, there is a ‘dropping off’ of women as seniority increases. As a result, women make up only around a third of the top jobs in IR.
Looking at the issue in more depth, the IR Magazine Global Practice Report 2016 discovers that, regionally, Europe has the biggest gender gap at the top, with men taking 76 percent of positions as IR head. North America reflects the global average with 67 percent of head of IR roles going to men, despite both regions starting from a base 54:46 male-to-female split across the profession as a whole.
While the reasons for this are complex, networking is part of the answer. Speaking to Garnet Roach for Glassbreakers, IR Magazine’s summer 2017 cover story, Pavita Cooper, founder and director of career insight firm More Difference and steering committee member at the 30% Club, noted that ‘often when you talk to women about networking they see it as a bad thing, a dirty word, something men do that women don’t have time for on top of everything else.’ In IR in particular, however, networking is critical.
Sharon Rolston, head of IR at global drinks firm Diageo, and Marilyn Mora, head of IR at tech giant Cisco, echo this sentiment. ‘I encourage women to network with other professional women, to be a role model and connect with others as much as possible,’ says Mora, while Rolston notes that this is something she continues to do herself. ‘I am always keen to network externally with other IR teams and leaders to understand how they built their careers and what tips I could take on board,’ she says.