by Jim Toes
President & CEO, STA
It’s no secret that the financial services industry has historically been male-dominated. In response to this, STA has made a concerted effort over the years to increase the diversity and inclusion not only in its board and membership, but also in terms of the individuals that we invite to speak at our Annual Market Structure Conference.
This year’s event was a success in many ways, with our 7th Annual Women in Finance Symposium and the number of female and/or minority moderators and panelists. But despite our efforts, we didn’t quite hit the mark: the diversity among our speakers was lower in 2022 (26%) than at our 2019 event (34%), before the pandemic.
As we reflect on our 2022 conference, this stands out as something that we should never lose focus on but rather continue to improve. This reflection serves as a reminder that in the aftermath of Covid we as an industry need to double down on efforts to make a place for everyone on the stage.
That means our efforts to #PutHerOnThePanel remain as important as ever. We started this initiative a few years ago as a way to publicly take ownership and show responsibility of the need for diversity in our event programs. In addition to making it an internal priority, we added the hashtag in recognition of the importance of social outreach around this need for inclusion. We want to demonstrate the need to speak openly about these issues, and for our members, to hold us accountable for them.
We are proud of the strides that STA has made in being an inclusive organization, giving an annual platform to the voices of many industry leaders, including women and minorities. We also know more work lies ahead. As such, we encourage our STA affiliates and our members to continue to work with us and within their organizations to make diversity and inclusion a top priority at events, within leadership teams and more. We look forward to future STA events, and we will continue to find additional opportunities to carry this torch and further improve on our efforts.
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