Celebrating Women's History and a Brighter Future
BECU President and CEO Beverly Anderson celebrates the contributions of women in history and shares her hope for a brighter, more equitable future.
Women's History Month in the U.S. is a time to celebrate the contributions and advancement of women. It's a time to think about historic milestones, such as achieving the right to vote, and collective progress, such as occupying more seats in corporate boardrooms than ever before.
It's also a time to recognize the barriers to success women have faced — and often still face — and for individuals and organizations to identify opportunities to do better.
When I was growing up, my parents inspired me with their hard work and drive, and encouraged me to pursue my curiosity and interests. I was surrounded by women in my family and community who loved and supported me, and whom I looked to as leaders and mentors.
I appreciate how incredibly important it is for employees, students and mentees to see someone who looks like them in leadership roles. As I have advanced in my career, I have been energized to see more and more women achieve senior positions in all kinds of professional and academic fields.
The progress has been rapid considering that it wasn't until 1974 and the passage of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act that women could get their own credit cards, and financial institutions could no longer legally refuse to give them loans, including mortgages.
When I joined BECU at the end of last year, work was already in progress to advance equity for our employees and our members, and I'm committed to propelling this work forward.
At BECU, 58% of our staff are women. In leadership positions, 54% of our supervisors are women and 48% of our directors are women. We're working to do better at the vice president and senior vice president levels, currently 36% and 40% women, respectively.
Efforts like our multicultural leadership development program, our Women's Leadership Group and annual gender pay equity review are just a few examples of our commitments to advance equity internally. This month we are also highlighting and celebrating women-owned businesses, encouraging employees and members to join us.
Creating a Pathway
While we've made great gains, women, on average, still earn less and own less wealth than men. The financial services industry plays an important role in closing gender gaps and creating an equitable future for all. Credit unions are member-driven, not-for-profit organizations, putting them in the unique position to improve access to credit, loans and other financial tools for groups — like women — who have faced barriers to saving and building wealth. By improving the financial health of women, we are supporting the well-being of entire communities.