LEH Alumna Awarded OBE
Heartfelt congratulations to Yasmine Chinwala, Class of 1995, who has been awarded an OBE in this month's Queen's Birthday Honours List for her services to the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter.
Yasmine's recognition comes in the same list as Lieutenant Commander Louise Wooller - also in the Class of 1995 - whose MBE we announced yesterday.
Yasmine says: "I am humbled to have been awarded an OBE for my work on the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter, which is a government-backed voluntary initiative to increase female representation in senior management across the financial services industry.
I was a financial journalist for nearly 15 years, and had the opportunity to meet, interview and get to know many fantastic and inspiring women from across the sector. In 2014, I joined a brand new think tank, New Financial. It was just two partners and two graduate researchers - we published our first research on female representation on boards and executive committees across European financial services organisations in 2014. Back then, no one was compiling that kind of data, and it was a huge undertaking.
Then I read a news story that Jayne-Anne Gadhia had been appointed by the government to conduct a review on (the lack of) senior women in financial services in the UK. I cold-called the review team, and managed to convince them that New Financial should contribute to field testing their recommendations and to provide data to the review. It was a huge step forward for our small, relatively unknown company.
The review recommendations then became the basis of the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter, launched in March 2016. After many calls and meetings, I managed to convince the HMT team that the Charter signatories should be monitored, and that New Financial should do the monitoring. New Financial has since published three annual reviews (currently working on the fourth!) and two signatory surveys with HM Treasury on the Charter, and we work closely with HM Treasury on the strategic direction of the Charter. I can see and have measured the impact of the Charter - it is definitely driving change.
New Financial now has a slightly bigger team of eight, and our work on the Charter is only a small fraction of our research programme, but this project is truly a team endeavour. And that is why I see this award as New Financial's rather than my own.
When I left LEH at the age of 18, I had no doubt that the world was my oyster. I had been surrounded by powerful, inspiring female teachers and a wonderful cohort of girls (many of whom I am still close to) throughout my education. Female leadership was normal to me. But once I started working, I saw how few women reached senior positions and that key decision makers were usually men. As I have grown older, I have become more militant about the need for gender equality - we have to keep pushing against the inertia to force a change.
I hope I see gender-balanced workplaces (and indeed, improved gender balance in societal roles too) in my lifetime. The inner cynic in me doubts it, but as a natural optimist and a mother, I have high hopes for the future!"
Yasmine also sent in a photo from the LEH Class of '95 reunion she hosted five years ago, see below. She is still hoping that they will be able to celebrate their 25th anniversary reunion in person at some later date - Covid permitting.