The disparity between the number of women and the number of men in the financial services industry has been a point of discussion for decades among my friends and colleagues. 
  
In researching the gender gap in the financial services industry and deciding how I would like to frame this blog post, I focused on a positive way to view the discussion. In this day and age, I believe it’s well known that women bear the majority of responsibility for the day-to-day financial decisions of their homes and excel in long-term financial planning areas, such as retirement, long-term health care needs, caring for elders, etc.  

When I raised the financial services industry gender gap with my Elite Women’s Mastermind group last month, several of the women graciously gave me ideas for this article. One of my friends shared something that was particularly memorable: she has had numerous conversations with the dean of the business school in her town trying to figure out how to encourage more female students to pursue a degree in finance, and they could not think of a good reason why more women were not pursuing finance. Women have the intelligence and fortitude to do well when pursuing a degree in finance, but there is still a disconnect. We agreed that, as women who are currently in the industry, we need to proactively spread awareness of the profession. We need to be available to mentor young women, as well as communicate the many benefits that being in the financial services industry offers. After these conversations with my peers, I decided to focus this article on how women can close the financial services gender gap by becoming CFP® professionals themselves.
 
First, we need to focus on helping other women join the industry. Financial planning is one of the best professions and career paths for women of all ages. I’ve seen women of all ages enter this field and find success.  Through formal and informal mentorship, many of us in the industry are actively working hard to advise  women early in their careers to choose to work in the industry or to change career paths if they are not fulfilled in their current professions. If you are seeking mentorship, the CFP Board Mentor Program is a good starting place to connect with someone who can help guide you to reach your full potential in the financial planning profession.

Growing the number of female CFP® professionals has never been more important as it is now. Women are making significant strides in their personal and professional financial lives. Today, women are the main influencers of how a dollar is spent, and we are generally the savers for rainy days, vacations, emergencies and our children’s needs. According to Fortune Magazine, there are more female CEOs than ever before. This progress is powerful. As we celebrate Women’s History Month this March, women should see financial planning as a profession that promotes equality and offers them the same opportunities as men.  

CFP Board is focused on diversity and inclusion, as are many other companies and associations in the financial services industry right now. While CFP Board has seen impressive growth in the number of CFP® professionals in recent years, the percentage of female CFP® professionals has remained flat at 23% for at least a decade. To promote diversity in the profession, the CFP Board created the WIN Council. The Council advises and assists in the development of initiatives to increase the number of women entering the financial planning profession, including the number of women who pursue CFP® certification. 

Female clients often want to work with female financial planners. Women are natural counselors, guides, caretakers, educators and mentors. If you are interested in joining a fulfilling career path, consider pursuing CFP® certification and think about how you can become an inspiration to other women.  

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory Services offered through WCG Wealth Advisors, LLC, a registered investment advisor. WCG Wealth Advisors, LLC, The Wealth Consulting Group, and Family Wealth Management Group are separate entities from LPL Financial.  Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. and LPL Financial are separate entities.