As we celebrate International Women’s Day, Eilidh Anderson, Investment Manager at Kingswood, reflects on her career in investment and she still reserves the ‘prerogative to have a little fun’ along the way.
Q: What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
A: International Women’s Day (IWD) is quite simply a day to acknowledge and celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women around the world. On IWD, I always enjoy hearing inspiring stories, bringing attention to key issues and gaining some perspective on my own challenges.
Q: What comes to mind when you think of this year’s International Women’s Day theme #embraceequity?
A: Talent is equally distributed, opportunity is not. But providing equal opportunities assumes everyone started in the same place. Embracing equity puts the spotlight on recognising everyone’s unique circumstances and characteristics and allocating the right resources and opportunities to achieve equal outcomes for all.
Q: Are there any women in particular that have positively impacted you in your career? If so, what’s one lesson they have taught you?
A: I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with a many successful women throughout my career. What I’ve learned is that if you want to retain good people and have them do their best work, they need to feel respected, appreciated and know that their voice is being heard.
Q: What advice do you have for women starting out in their careers?
A: When you are a teenager and in your early 20s, a lot of emphasis is put on going to university and getting a graduate job. I would say don’t be afraid to take an entry level role in an organisation and work your way up. I know many successful people who have done just that, and their well-rounded, real-life experiences have shaped them into incredible leaders.
Q: Tell us about a stereotype you’ve had to overcome.
A: It is quite difficult, in my opinion, to rid ourselves of stereotypes. Everyone has unconscious biases. They are ingrained in society, and we begin learning them from the moment we are born. People of all ages, genders, ethnicities and backgrounds can fall into bias traps. I believe most can be diffused by a sincere apology and a commitment to unlearning and counteracting any deep-rooted assumptions we discover we hold. While not everything you face can be changed, nothing can be changed until it’s faced.
Q: What’s the best thing about being a woman?
A: According to Shania Twain, it’s the prerogative to have a little fun!
Q: What are the challenges facing women in business today?
A: Women face many challenges from day-to-day unconscious bias to limited access to venture capital funding. A common issue I see as an Investment Manager is the Gender Pension Gap whereby women tend to have lower retirement income and poorer outcomes than men due to a disparity in pay compounded over their working life, and time spent out of the labour force caring for loved ones. A Now: Pensions report estimates that women would need to start working in full-time employment at the age of four in order to retire at the age of 65 with the same pension income as men.
Q: What can women / businesses / the industry at large do to overcome these challenges?
A: Workplace culture will only truly change if men are both given, and encouraged to take, the same parental leave opportunities as women. It is encouraging to see some UK companies introduce policies that offer men up to 52 weeks paid leave giving families the choice and flexibility in navigating their personal and professional lives.
Q: What are three key things you think are important to succeed as a woman in business?
A: It takes courage to stand up for what you believe in and to live outside of societal norms. Whatever your career dreams are, having the conviction to overcome resistance and the resilience to keep going even when times are tough will help you stay the course.
Q: What made you want to get into Financial Services?
A: I actually fell into financial services by chance – an answer which I have found is quite common among women. A temporary job turned into a rewarding career, and I am passionate about using capital to address some of the world’s most pressing social and environmental issues.
Q: What’s one piece of advice you would give to a female looking to get into financial services?
A: I would recommend joining a women’s network and surrounding yourself with a community of like-minded and ambitious women. I’ve been a member and volunteer on the Future Leaders Shadow Board at Women in Banking and Finance for several years where I have met some wonderful mentors and friends.