Gender financial inclusion with Tori Berry

Gender financial inclusion with Tori Berry

Recently we asked 4 influential thought leaders to give their interpretation of financial inclusion. Each speaker shared such incredible stories that we've decided to release each individually. Today we're retelling Tori Berry's gender parity view.

Tory Berry - HSBC, Head of Customer Journeys

Tori was a keynote speaker at our recent event, 'How can employers drive financial inclusion?'. She joined us to give insight on gender in financial inclusion. Tori is Head of Customer Journeys at HSBC. She's also HSBC’s diversity and inclusion lead and proud owner of the diversity and inclusion influencer programme with more than 2,000 members. If that wasn't enough, she's also co-chair of the generations’ employee resource group focusing on the future of work and nurturing young talent. 

Here are the key insights from Tori's session, in Tori's words:

I'm a mum, I've got a daughter and a son. That’s part of the reason why I'm particularly passionate about gender and financial inclusion. I was born and raised in Australia, in a small town, and my mum didn't work. That's not unusual. However, one of the things I really observed and I'll talk about is the financial dependence that my mum had on my dad, which I felt was very unfair. Throughout my career, one of the things that I’ve become more and more passionate about is financial inclusion, how we build inclusion, and how we make it more accessible to our kids. 

I'm currently Head of Customer Journeys in our retail bank and one of the big things, and is part of the reason why diversity inclusion is also such a big part of my career within HSBC, is we have an amazing platform that really influences communities all around the world. It ensures that financial inclusion is the bread and butter of what we do. Some of the things that I'm going to talk about are pretty simple. 

Sometimes we overcomplicate what we do in our lives and that makes financial inclusion more complicated than it needs to be. How we simplify, and how we use our diversity lenses to ensure that we're including each and every one of us, is really powerful. The amazing thing about discussions like this is it really promotes those conversations and shows that we are making the change. Where we are each and every one of us is responsible for driving those agendas.

What impacts has gender had? Or Covid’s had on gender? 

I'm going to touch on a few of them and all the other inclusion lenses or diversity lenses that we'll cover off today are also challenged. If we're truly going to strive for financial inclusion, there are certain key things that we really need to focus on. 

Part of the reason why women have been impacted by the economic crisis is we tend to earn less. Women are overrepresented in many of the industries, particularly the hardest hit by Covid, such as service, retail, and entertainment. 

Hard-hit sectors

Around 40% of all the employed women, which is around 510 million women globally, work in hard-hit sectors compared to around 36% of employed men. Another reason why, particularly gender, has been hit through Covid is we've [women] got fewer savings. We've got less access to financial education and financial accounts. That's both within the UK. Some of the domestic violence that has happened in the UK but also globally, through the focus on men, and empowering men, has become more prevalent. 

Informal economies

We're also disproportionately represented in informal economies. What I mean is, in terms of our domestic workers, and in terms of how we're employed, is very different to our male counterparts. The other issue is social protection. In some of our world economies, women have very different rights to men like being able to open up a bank account, being able to walk into a branch and sit down and ask questions. Some social problems have been exasperated through the financial crisis. 

Caregiving roles

A lot of the unpaid care and domestic work has fallen to women and 80% of domestic workers are women around the world. 72% of those domestic workers lost their jobs. When you think about that, from an economic perspective, that's huge. Not only that, they're not protected, they don’t get paid leave, notice periods, or severance leave. From a confidence perspective, you're losing your way, without the basic confidence of being able to establish yourself for financial independence. 

Single-parent households

The last thing for me, is a lot of women make up the majority of single-parent households. How do we bring that to life? How do we support people through financial insecurity? That’s really critical. How we create that gender balance is really important. Through Covid, we've seen that exasperated, the figures have grown further apart as a result. The economic impact is the cooling of the shadow, the shadow of the pandemic. I have recently published a report on the impact of women in the shadow of the pandemic and the overall impact that we will feel because of this disparity and the growth in the gender divide. 


The thing that stood out when I was reading and researching is there are around 435 million women and girls that live on less than $1.90 a day. And Covid pushed 47 million people into poverty. That's pretty stark when you think that we live in a very privileged country yet each and every one of us has a different experience. 

How do we create that platform where actually we can step into that environment and play a role in balancing out that gender parity? 

For me, a lot of this comes down to the importance of financial inclusion and it's not complex, it's basic. It's basic financial inclusion, it's education, and it's giving people the basic access rights to establishing bank accounts, talking to people, and creating that environment where people can be open and transparent and ask the basic questions that they need to ask.

Up next we're exploring disability and financial inclusion with Shani Dhanda.


Watch the webinar 'How can employers drive financial inclusion?' on demand and hear more from Tori and our amazing line-up of financial wellbeing, diversity and inclusion thought leaders.

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