A Diversity Award for the Private Equity Industry?
There are a lot of them. Historically, certainly, the traditional role model that at the very beginning kept women from any career. Even when there were initial improvements in general, the male-dominated financial industry continued to lag behind. “Finance is not for women — focus on HR positions.” Brave women have ignored this nonsense and fought their way through it. But the mathematical problem continues: the top women in finance, and especially private equity – still too few in numbers – do not want to make the same mistake and promote exclusively female mentées.
So everything is proceeding very slowly. And i think there is also – and I can only continue to report this as a man – that women expect recognition for their achievements, without constantly wanting to draw attention to it with great cries of war. But if “Associate‑M(professional)” pursues sustainable self-promotion and “Associate‑W(eiblich)” simply does her job perfectly, in the end too often “Associate‑M” is remembered and set.
I have to be careful with the answer so as not to give any indications of possible prizewinners. Perhaps, regardless of GP or LP, there is a more advanced organisational anchoring of measures in public institutions that, for example, allow women in the child phases not only to continue working, but also to move forward. With GPs or LPs per se, we have not actually been able to discover any relevant differences in the “Diversity Fitness”.
At this point, a reference to the first round of the awards is also explicitly a reference: “Diversity” for us means only that there is a more balanced distribution between male and female employees. “Diversity” in a broader sense, we have yet to work out methodically by next year. But somewhere you start where the disproportion is greatest.
By the way, I only have to look into my own association – but by 2021 the bii will also have done his “big homework”.
In one of the first conference calls, a lady from the jury so aptly stated that we have to work hard to get rid of the Diversity Awards soon, because then no one understands why self-evident things should be awarded. But we are not close to that yet. The figures mentioned in the introduction are incredible and definitely the reason for me to have launched the Diversity Awards. Level 20, with which we have, of course, exchanged views, require 20 percent of female leadership positions. And this minimum requirement is still a long way from realisation.
In the end, we want to motivate by example. Because one thing is certain: “Diversity drives performance.” The self-prosthestical PE industry in particular should follow its animal spirits and therefore promote more women to management positions. Mixed teams are more creative, only they have the 360-degree view.
Dr. Thomas A. Jesch, LL.M. Taxation (Georgetown)
Geschäftsführender Vorstand / Managing Board Member
bii Federation of Institutional Investors, Frankfurt a. Main