The latest issue of Divercity, a European magazine about inclusion and innovation, addresses the topic of female managers in the banking sector. Published on page 34, the editorial written by Anna Tavano, Head of Global Banking for HSBC Italy, is about the role played by digital technologies in the cultural change currently underway in the world of work. “The Covid-19 pandemic has caused an exceptional crisis that is very different from the one of 2008, to which it is often compared. What we are facing is a completely new scenario”, Anna Tavano writes, “which has profoundly changed social, organizational and cultural behaviors, both in private and professional life, and which calls into question those ways of life and work that we thought were solid”.
According to the manager, a constructive use of digital technology, which has made home working possible, can now be the best way to improve women’s inclusion in the world of work, helping them to gain more senior positions. “The issue is always the same, there is nothing new, it concerns women and their ability to rise to the top ranks of organizations. If we consider the banking sector, we have a 50/50 gender split between men and women in the junior workforce. But when we look at more senior positions, women lag behind due to the difficulty to find the right balance between work and family”. Today, thanks to digital technologies, it is possible to organize work in a more fluid, modern and even higher productive way: “Experiencing home working has taught us to work towards objectives, in a flexible and intelligent way. Managers have learned to exercise less control and yet more leadership, leading to a productivity increase of 4%”.
This scenario helps those who work in the sector to better manage their time and allows for an improved work life balance especially for women, who very often carry the greatest burden in terms of organizing family and working life. According to the latest surveys carried out by ILO, indeed, Italian women carry the weight of 74% of the unpaid working hours dedicated to assistance and personal care: “The time is ripe for achieving work-life balance, it should not be a privilege, and to claim for it cannot be a reason to be judged negatively. The possibility to choose where and how to work generates a higher quality of work, and with the support of the ongoing cultural evolution, this will allow women to be more competitive in the market without being forced to quit their jobs, since they will be able to cultivate their aspirations for professional growth. It is an opportunity for everybody”, Anna Tavano concludes, adding that “If we are able to manage this opportunity in order to ensure the necessary balance between office and home working, this can generate value through an increase in diversity. I hope that Italian companies will take this opportunity without fear”.