While a recent gender discrimination case against VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is now playing out in the courts, one thing remains certain: Gender inequity in the financial services industry remains a glaring problem, albeit one that is seemingly on the mend.
According to the Wall Street Journal, VC firms such as Kleiner are making strides in adding women to their ranks. Women now comprise nearly 15 percent of leadership in the asset class overall, up from 11 percent a year earlier, the newspaper said, citing figures from the data provider Preqin.
Private equity firms, the paper noted, lag behind VC in adding women to top management, although they are making slow progress. Women accounted for 10.5 percent of senior posts at PE firms, up over the past two years from a prior 9 percent, according to the Prequin data. By comparison, women make up about 14 percent of top leadership positions at infrastructure and real estate firms, the Wall Street Journal said.
Citing data from the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, The New York Times said that official reports of sexual discrimination are on the wane, replaced by more “subtle slights and double standards that can be more difficult to define and combat.”
ACG is one organization that has stepped up to reverse these worrisome trends.
“ACG is working to advance the role of women in the middle market and the M&A community,” said ACG Global President & CEO Gary LaBranche, FASAE, CAE. “Through ongoing initiatives such as ACG Cup, Young ACG and women’s programs, ACG strives to provide a welcoming and inclusive culture.”
Efforts such as these are occurring amid headlines about the high-profile lawsuit brought against Kleiner by former executive Ellen Pao. Pao claims she was denied preferred assignments and promotions during her tenure at the firm, among other charges. She testified against Kleiner on Monday, March 9. The firm has denied Pao’s allegations.