ICMA Women's Network
The International Capital Market Association (ICMA) is a not-for-profit membership association that promotes well-functioning cross-border bond markets essential to funding sustainable economic growth.
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Its network of members spans more than 600 firms from 65 jurisdictions globally, with ties to key institutions in the region. ICMA is the only bond market trade association that represents all sides of the international bond markets, including issuers, intermediaries, investors, central banks, infrastructure providers, law firms, credit rating agencies, fintechs, consultancies and others.
As part of its remit in the international capital markets, ICMA is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment within the industry. The association drives forward a number of diversity and career development undertakings through mentoring platforms and dedicated networks such as the ICMA Women’s Network (IWN), which provides a global, impartial and open forum to encourage, support and inspire women at all stages of their career and to further the aim of gender equality within the bond markets.
Through a combination of live events and online content, the IWN focuses on skills for career progression and hosts discussions on relevant issues between influential industry stakeholders. Networking is central to the offering, supporting links between colleagues of different generations and levels of seniority, helping to foster inclusion throughout the industry.
IWN was conceived among a few ICMA staff members around a meeting room table in 2014. It has since grown into a network of more than 3,000 people spanning Europe, Africa and Asia-Pacific.
Since its launch, IWN has tackled myriad issues, such as how to develop the resilience to handle difficult situations and setbacks, how to use social media effectively to build a personal brand, how unconscious bias can affect the way we work and network, how to repurpose ourselves and our skills to fit fastmoving work evolutions – such as fintech and sustainable finance – the link between gender diversity and business performance, the stigma which exists around mental health in workplaces, and an exploration of experiences of working in a multicultural environment.
These topics remain relevant to many but of course other issues always surface periodically and regionally. The positive impact afforded by IWN of being part of the relevant conversation in a safe, dedicated space, on a global platform and among like-minded professionals of all genders is very powerful for IWN’s members.
IWN has welcomed a range of speakers, from high-profile keynote speakers to panels of inspirational individuals who cut across the generational and professional divide, from a psychologist to a digital branding guru, professional impact coach and hostage negotiator.
IWN supports gender equality at a global level: all employees of ICMA member firms are welcome to join. IWN also welcomes participation from all genders and ethnicities, acknowledging that broad participation is essential in achieving positive, sustainable change.
IWN is active in 14 regions: the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Iberia, Switzerland, Belgium, West Africa, South Africa, APAC, MENA, Luxembourg and the Nordic region. Each region is supported by an international steering committee member. For details of the international steering committee member in your region, please refer to ICMA’s website.
In May 2022, the APAC region hosted a virtual discussion on the development of gender bonds in Australia as part of ICMA’s joint publication with the International Finance Corporation and UN Women on using sustainable debt for gender equality. Furthermore, at an event held jointly with the Asia-Pacific Loan Market Association, a panel of speakers discussed the debt and loan markets and explored the transferability of skill-sets between the two by reference to their own experiences.
The Italian region produced a webinar addressing issues such as gender parity, soft leadership, meritocracy and the importance of listening to the voices of younger generations.
The UK region held its first in-person IWN event post-pandemic in London in May, at which UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) director, Clare Cole, gave a powerful keynote on the FCA’s efforts on diversity and inclusion, with a strong focus on neurodiversity, social mobility and educational diversity, including by reference to her own career experiences.