The Women In Finance Charter (WIFC) Blueprint Document released in 2022 was originally focused on gender equity, however it is common belief that the four reinforcing pillars can be used by companies of any size in meeting their whole diversity, equity and inclusion targets.

The blueprint was structured into four reinforcing pillars; Recruitment , Retention & PromotionCulture & Behaviour and Embedding Diversity Equity & Inclusivity.

The blueprint identified that a well-defined culture is essential for diversity to be able to thrive.

Pillar 3 – Culture & Behaviour reported that the Financial Services industry still lags behind other industries when creating an inclusive culture. Inclusive culture is determined by an organisation’s collective behaviours – the company’s purpose, values and beliefs and the enablers and signals it uses to reinforce them both internally and externally.

The report showed that there is still a culture within financial services which is full of exclusionary behaviour with 28% of female employees have experienced actual physical harassment against just 18% in other industry sectors.


“You can do some great things in the recruitment experience, but it is the lived experience day in day out that makes a difference to your culture and your ability to retain top female talent.”

Joanne Place – Chief Operating Officer – Bank of England

The blueprint reported that a positive culture has not always been role modelled by the CEO and senior management, with only 29% of companies publicise and celebrate take up of parental leave and flexible working and just half have CEO’s who are actively promoting gender parity programmes.


Since Covid-19 many companies have focused on creating an inclusive way of working, with hybrid working on the rise. More than 80% of UK financial services firms now operate a flexible/hybrid work solution. However the report did say that there is a risk of unintended penalties including exclusion resulting in a 50% lower promotion rate for those who work from home 4 days a week compared to office based colleagues.

The blueprint suggests a number of ideas to improve your company’s culture and behaviour; leading companies surveyed have already implemented a number of these including:

  • Inclusion and/or diversity fully embedded in a company’s purpose, mission or values.
  • Transparency around people who are removed for harassment or inappropriate behaviour.
  • Use women’s networks to further develop relationships.
  • Women role model success communicated both internally and externally.
  • Listen to and include the perspectives of men on gender equality.
  • Annual cultural diagnostics to assess and benchmark cultural maturity of the company.
  • CEO promoted gender parity programmes.
  • Senior leadership regularly and openly share experiences of vulnerability, and encourage others to do so.
  • Defined hybrid working model for all.
  • Ensure business meetings are in environments inclusive to all (e.g. in office not the pub)
  • Inclusive meeting protocol to ensure the right people are at the table.
  • Transparent feedback and growth opportunities actively shared.


The blueprint identified a number of key questions for companies to do a self-assessment of their culture and behaviour.

Do you know what views your Executive and Board members hold about DE&I?

Are you measuring inclusivity on a frequent basis?

What inclusive behaviours are you and your leaders role modelling today?

What symbols do you leverage to highlight inclusivity day-to-day?

Can you demonstrate a no tolerance approach towards exclusionary behaviour?


Firstly if you haven’t read the WIFC Blueprint make sure you get a copy of it, one of our team would be happy to send you across a digital version. The blueprint report helps you identify the key DE&I dimensions, shows ‘best in class’ examples, and provides you with an actionable toolkit to accelerate your journey.