Break the bias – women in finance – International Women’s Day 2022

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we spoke to Rachael Lyon, Head of Fund Administration – UK who shared her experience of establishing her career in a male dominated environment and her recommendations on how to break the bias for young women entering the workforce.

About 15 years ago, I was in a meeting with my boss and about 10 others. At the start of the meeting, we were all giving our business cards and people started to arrange them so they knew the names of everyone at the table. However, by about 6 business cards in, we were all getting very confused and had no idea which person had given which card.

My boss jokingly said “well, at least we all know which one Rachael is”. I froze as I had no idea why he had said it. I suddenly felt very self-conscious and awkward. But as I looked around, I realised what he meant. I was the only woman in the room.

I am sure this is something that many women in the Real Estate world have encountered. This was 15 years ago, and things haven’t really changed much. Most of my meetings are still very male dominated.

Like many women, I have felt that I wasn’t good enough and had to work harder to be listened to and taken seriously. We put ourselves down and don’t put ourselves forward for promotions, new job opportunities and pay rises as much as our male counterparts and as a result our careers suffer, and we earn less.

Gender equality in the workplace is not only about getting more women in a male dominated industry, but also about breaking down gender stereotypes for both men and women to put people on an equal footing. Having equal opportunities and access to tools and experiences to build confidence in the workplace.

During my career, I have been incredibly lucky with some of the other women I have worked with and have forged some very strong relationships. This has enabled us to build each others’ confidence and use our often-differing strengths together to have a great deal of influence in the organisations I have worked in.

As a senior woman at Langham Hall, I help mentor junior women to build this confidence and to break down some of the limiting beliefs that prevent us from showing what we can really do!

Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead. Being aware of them is not enough, we need to act. At Langham Hall, we are working to get more women to join the industry, supporting our female staff to build networks and connect with other senior women to continue building their confidence, holding women only activities as well as ensuring our events are gender balanced.

If you are interested in a career at Langham Hall, reach out to our HR team or check the latest vacancies here.