The Citi Women London Network is the largest network in Citi and continues to increase in membership annually. Citi’s ability to retain female talent is largely attributed to its culture including investment into the Network. In the mentoring program, mentors now include senior men from diverse business lines, which has also benefited the mentors in understanding gender diversity issues.
CitiWomen Network and CitiWomen Mentoring Committee
CitiWomen Network and CitiWomen Mentoring Committee

The Program has also supported women returning from maternity leave, by regularly hosting panel events. Retention of women returning from maternity leave has increased from 86% in 2009 to 90%.

CitiWomen Network and CitiWomen Mentoring Committee have been shortlisted for the 23rd WIBF team Diversity Award.

How does it feel to be shortlisted for this award?

We are excited and humbled to be shortlisted for a prestigious award especially in 2020, which has been a momentous year. It is also very good to see the network itself being nominated as it does “take a village” to deliver and grow the gender and wider Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) agenda, in Citi and our partner organizations. Our goal has always been to engage with different perspectives and build consensus in order to achieve common D&I goals and the nomination helps shine a spotlight on these shared objectives which is beneficial to all.

What are the current focuses of the Citi Women Network?

Citi women’s mission is to enable women to thrive in a diverse meritocracy. We aim to facilitate hiring, retention and promotion of female talent across Citi and make it an employer of choice for diverse talent. We also actively promote networking, leadership, mentoring and development opportunities within Citi and with our partner organization both external networks and clients.

What achievement are your team most proud of?

We are one of the longest standing networks at Citi and have a growing membership of nearly 1000 employees in London across male and female cohorts that cuts across all businesses and ranks within Citi. We are proud to have worked alongside our business colleagues on wider policy matters like signing the Women in Finance Charter (and gender gap reporting), corporate decisions like sponsoring the WIBF awards as well as grassroots initiatives like hosting events and development programs with schools in Tower Hamlets aimed at girls from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds.

The network has focused on including men as advocates, what can men do to be more effective in supporting women?

Men are critical sponsors in achieving any gender specific goal as they are aimed at equality and men form the other 50%; including a large part of our executive committee. In terms of specifically being sponsors, most financial firms often have men at top levels of management in positions which can deliberately lead change in process and culture which are crucial to empowering female and other diverse talent. Actively engaging and creating new frameworks (from diverse panel recruitment, active parental and family responsibility support, sabbaticals, active sponsorship of female talent in their business) and being courageous in having thoughtful, open discussions are all ways that men can help advocate for the gender agenda.

CWN has worked to reduce the gender pay gap at Citi, can you outline how this have been achieved?

We found that one of the important factors for success in the gender pay gap goal was that there were diverse and cross business and function stakeholders included in the review process. Our senior business leadership, HR partners as well as the network all brought different and valuable issues to the forefront and led to the development of fact driven and thoughtful framework. This has enabled us to identify and address our gender gap issues at all levels (particularly at the senior level) and provide holistic action points to both managers and employees in order to help reduce the gap. While work is yet to be done, the partnership across these pillars allowing diverse perspectives to be raised and solved for has helped make progress possible.

Do you think the current crisis and working from home will effect gender equality in the long run?

Yes and potentially in positive ways. We have seen a lot of members note that while virtual working has made networking in person harder, it has in a lot of ways equalized the opportunity set. The disruption has meant that managers and clients are open to new, innovative ideas with the delivery and quality of work rising to the forefront as measures of success. This should help promote female and broader diverse talent, as they often offer an innovative perspective to status quo problems.