04 October, 2021
#9 Portrait of a woman in the financial sector: Kaat Butlé
And I can confidently say that I have done that with ease. The financial sector is an industry with a lot of opportunities. It is flexible in its own way, whether you want to work in the “soft” or “hard” part. However, this flexibility is something that you must ask for. If you don’t state what your needs are, how will other people know?
When I first asked to change from auditing to business management, I consulted the HR director, who happened to be an older man. He asked me if I was up to the challenge, since I had 3 children. I was shocked! “Oh my gosh! How could somebody ask that type of question?” I asked myself. I knew that if I were a man, this question would not even cross his mind. And sadly, I faced prejudice because I had 3 children. However, that did not mean that I couldn’t manage myself. After assertively stating what my needs were, I was able to work in that position. It is imperative that we, as women, know that we have the right to have our demands met!
Our input in the banking sector is more evident than we think. When I first transferred into the finance sector, coming from a technological background, I was confronted by men in grey suits. Ties were neatly placed in their bureaus, and quickly whipped out when they had a meeting with their boss. There was a uniform without there being a uniform. After about 6 months of working there, they told me I had to adapt my clothing style, because it was too “colourful”. But I could never bring myself to wear a grey coloured suit. I loved my colourful outfits! I can see that there has been that evolution of style change. Sneakers at the office is now the norm. The female touch has arrived in banking.
And yes, the banking field is still a male dominated area. It’s a man’s playing field. Personally, as a woman who chose to be available for her family, I felt like I was hindered from doing certain jobs or jumping into certain professions. I remember when I was asked to take on a role in corporate finance. At the time, I thought that this role would take up too much of my time. I had a lot of self-doubt, and I ended up turning it down. To this day, I do regret not taking that opportunity. It made me realise that men didn’t go through the same dilemma of choosing between their career, and their family (which we can happily conclude that this has changed). However, this taught me an important lesson: never question your ability to do something! Go for the things that scare you. Do the jobs where the action is. Take all the chances that are presented to you. The sector needs young women! Young women should not be afraid.
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