‘Bridging the Gender Gap in Investment and Financial Services Sector in Mauritius’ was a joint workshop organised by the EU Africa RISE Regional Facility and The Association of Women in Investment and Finance in Mauritius.
During the workshop, the Minister of Financial Services and Good Governance, of Mauritius, Hon. Mahen Seeruttun launched the Africa RISE report on Bridging the Gender Gap in Investment and Financial Services Sector in Mauritius, Hon. Mahen Kumar SEERUTTUN, and H.E. Mr Vincent Degert, Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Mauritius and to the Republic of Seychelles, were both present during the launch and listened carefully to the findings.
The report identifies causes of gender inequality in the workplace, often rooted in gender-biased conservative and patriarchal norms and culture. This report points out that the business sector has recently taken a more profound interest in the gender concept and implications of gender inequalities. Some companies in the sector are working on plans and policies towards enhancing gender equality at their individual company level. While in Mauritius, all laws are gender neutral, the report identifies gaps in rules and practices (often at company level) and offers suggestions for addressing them.
The report highlights that corporate leaders should develop corporate awareness about gender equality through research on critical gender equality issues, training, sharing best practices, and joining voluntary corporate initiatives. As such. The report recommends policy orientations toward ensuring gender balance in the sector and highlights the importance of a psychologically safe workspace for women.
[MD1] Policymakers tend to focus on what is tangible, such as laws, policies and budgets. Yet, it is important not to neglect the invisible power of norms at the risk of missing a deeper understanding of social change. Speaking on the role of women, Hon. Mahen Kumar SEERUTTUN, Minister of Financial Services and Good Governance of the Republic of Mauritius stated:
“Indeed, women have played and are still playing an immeasurable role in Mauritius’ economic development, with contributions across sectors, not least of which is the financial services sector. The financial services sector employed 17,578 staff in 2021 and, it is worth noting that 52 % of total employment in this sector is represented by women. The positive trend is clear in that women in the financial services sector are highly educated, and this is a pipeline of talent which needs to be nurtured.”
The Association of Women in Investment and Finance has already adopted one of the recommendations of the report with respect to the development of a charter for Women in Investment and Finance in Mauritius. This charter was also launched at the workshop. Africa RISE is very privileged to have witnessed the launch of the first-ever Women in Investment and Finance Charter in Africa. The Charter aims to federate all actors in the sector to raise awareness and take action toward improving gender balance in the workplace. By signing the Charter, companies will express their commitment to promoting gender balance, set clear objectives and targets internally, and gradually bring more inclusivity at all levels of their organization. Launching the Charter is a concrete step towards implementing the recommendations from the Africa RISE report. There has been keen interest on adoption of the charter by the private sector. Another country whose representatives of the sector were present during the workshop are also interested in rolling out the charter in their country. The long-term goal is to encourage and foster an environment for many similar actions to be rolled out across Africa.
For Ambassador Degert, “Closing the gender gap in all spheres is a key priority of the European Union in its internal and external policies. The EU Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025 is a comprehensive strategy aimed at ending gender-based violence; challenging gender stereotypes; closing gender gaps in the labour market; achieving equal participation across different sectors of the economy; addressing the gender pay and pension gaps; closing the gender care gap and achieving gender balance in decision making and in politics”- The Women in Investment and Finance Charter in Africa is a significant milestone towards bridging the gender gap in Mauritius's investment and financial services sector. By bringing together industry players committed to achieving gender equality, the Charter aims to set clear objectives and targets internally and gradually bring more inclusivity to all levels of the organisation.
The joint efforts of the government, the Association of Women in Investment and Finance in Mauritius, and the EU Africa RISE Regional Facility will hopefully accelerate the advancement of women leaders in investment and finance in Mauritius while fostering an environment for many advocacy opportunities to emerge across Africa in the future.