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This is 'one of the biggest hurdles' for women trying to get ahead in finance

Brooke DiPalma
Associate Producer

100 Women in Finance, a non-profit organization founded in 2001, has a big goal for the next two decades — for women to occupy 30% of investment team and executive leadership roles by 2040. Sarah Dyer, co-founder of 100 Women In Finance, admits however, “there is still a way to go.”

“One of the biggest hurdles is getting women through the mid-career phase. It’s challenging for all the reasons that everyone knows,” Dyer told Yahoo Finance’s On the Move last week.

The challenges women face mid-career can include balancing work and family, including caring for children and aging parents. “But we think that if that nut can be cracked, the corporations are for the most part, really excited to welcome the executive women who will come through that phase in the career and put them in those leadership positions,” she said.

Chief Financial Officer Marianne Lake stands for a portrait at the headquarters of JP Morgan Chase & Co in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., September 13, 2018. REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs

As of June 1, the Fortune 500 list includes just 33 companies led by women. While that set a new record, women still represent a small fraction of corporate leaders.

Wall Street has yet to see a woman CEO, though Dyer noted that women are on the “cusp” of taking that position. Indeed, Citigroup (C)’s President Jane Fraser could be the next CEO there, and Marianne Lake of JPMorgan Chase (JPM) could very well be that bank’s next chief executive.

“I hope it is inevitable, I certainly know an organization of 15,000 members will be very pleased to celebrate that when it does happen,” Dyer noted, of the possibility of a woman CEO on Wall Street.

Nineteen years after 100 Women in Finance was founded, an idea to bring together 100 senior female investment professionals has grown to an organization of over 15,000 members in 24 locations across 4 continents. Despite the vast distance between locations, including New York, Toronto, Cayman Islands, Dublin and Singapore, all members share the same mission, to empower women to achieve their professional potential at each career stage.

“We’d like to see it accelerate, to see more women on investment teams, as analysts, as portfolio managers,” Dyer said. “In the traditional and even in the alternative segments of the financial industry, those are important pathways to the executive suites.”

Brooke DiPalma is a producer for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma.

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