Women in Financial Services Blog

“What’s a man doing this for?”

“What’s a man doing this for?”

Mark.Freed / 23 Aug 2018

I often find myself in the position of frontman for E2W.  The firm dedicates itself to supporting the financial services careers of women and helping banks to collect the gender dividend.

As frontman I regularly meet new people. The brave ones ask “What's a man doing this for?”  For the not so brave and curious here is my answer.  For a better society and economy on both a macro and micro level.

Society Macro: I have been lucky enough to experience many societies. It seems to me (and there is plenty of evidence to back it up) that the best societies are those where everyone has equal choice as choice is individual, not societal. 

I am old enough to remember the 1970's office environment where there were jobs for men and jobs for women.  Some women left careers to get married or if they didn't leave then, they would leave when they had their first child.  The choice was more often than not, not theirs. 

I believe that choosing to be a stay at home father/mother or continue a career should be an individual choice rather than a societal one.  

I want to live in a society where I can choose my normal rather than the other way around. Statistics show that I'm unlikely to see that in my life time. I hope my children will.  

Society Micro: Let's get personal, I love my wife. We are partners. It was not a conscious decision but we share everything equally rather than dividing it. We both take responsibility for income and expenditure as much as undertaking domestic work or parenting. I want (and have) someone to share life with in all its aspects, challenges, high and lows. My life is richer and more fulfilled as a result. 

Our children, I believe, are more responsible, inclusive, balanced and successful as a result. Mostly they know they have choices in how they lead their lives and I believe this should be their individual choice, not society's. 

Economy Macro: I want to live in and benefit from a successful economy,  All the evidence points to the fact that economies and businesses that are diverse and inclusive perform better than those that are not. When considering diversity and inclusion, gender parity must come top of this list.  After all approximately 50% of the population are men - gender parity is in their interests too! 

Ten of thousands of women(and increasingly men) reluctantly leave careers behind them every year simply because of the challenges associated with  pursuing a career and being the prime caring parent.   Some see this is as choice, but there is so much more that can be done to make the options more palatable and meet individual needs.

Women are woefully represented at senior management and board level across all industries.

The UK government’s economic blueprint has identified that finding ways to keep people in productive employment and creating more gender diverse leadership teams would be a major boast to the economy.  Further they have identified Financial Services as a sector where improvement is possible and the impact significant. In response they have launched the women in finance charter. I'm proud to be personally involved in helping the British economy perform better through our support and contribution to the charter.

Economy Micro: Tina and I are both fulfilling our career ambitions. We also had time for the children. Two successful careers has doubled our family income but more importantly, we have both achieved our personal and career ambitions.  Our whole family have benefitted as a result.

Who is this Guy! In case you are wondering I am a typical man. I'm increasingly stale and grey but there is still a lad, a bloke, one of the boys in me. I'm a MAMIL (Middle Aged Man in Lycra - enjoy cycling at weekends) and play rough physical sport - I'm still first team at Water Polo.  I also, like an increasing number of real men, see the benefit of and am passionate about gender parity. 

Mark Freed - Co-founder E2W

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