Carole Charter joins the gender equality conversation in ‘Society Matters’ Special

29 October 2020 • Our Insights

Carole Charter, Chief Commercial Officer at The Cambridge Building Society, offers insight on the important subject of gender balance in the financial services sector, and comments on the future development of the sector as a whole.

2020 has been an unprecedented year so far and it’s becoming clear that our ‘normal’ is going to look different from ‘pre-Covid’ life. And although businesses and communities are coming together with the same objective, to help stop the spread of the virus, positive steps continue to be made in other important areas which are contributing to a better post-Covid working life.

Gender balance in the workplace continues to be an important topic in the financial services sector. To draw attention to this poignant subject, the Building Societies Association dedicated their Autumn edition of Society Matters to the Women in Finance Charter and exploring how Charters like these are effective in establishing and delivering change in the workplace. The Women in Finance special includes insights from influential women from across the sector, discussing what being a part of the Women in Finance Charter means to them and their business. One of which is Carole Barlow, HR Director at West Brom Building Society who has been a part of the Women in Finance Charter for 4 years, and is a Women in Finance board representative. She highlights, “The Charter has helped shine a spotlight on the extent of female representation in senior positions, however whilst some progress has been made, the challenge is how to accelerate that progress and make a real step change.”

Surrounded by other enthusiastic and innovative leaders (who happen to be women) I’m delighted to have been featured in this edition by talking about two important subjects: the future development of financial services, and what the sector can do to achieve a better gender balance. 

At The Cambridge, our pursuit of gender balance in the workplace isn’t something that’s new. However, to demonstrate our commitment to gender diversity, in May this year we were delighted to announce our signatory on the Women in Finance Charter, officially committing the business to support the progression of women into senior management roles. As a woman recently promoted into my role as Chief Commercial Officer, I was pleased to comment on what the sector can do to achieve better gender balance. And for me, the answer lies with listening to those in junior roles and supporting them to achieve their potential.

As a part of my feature, I was also asked what the biggest development I see happening in financial services in the next 10 years. The financial services sector has progressed a significant amount over the past 5 years with the introduction of mobile and online banking, and the growing popularity of Challenger Banks. For me, I think the biggest development we’ll see in financial services is the acceleration of open banking, and the opportunities and challenges this presents. It is now, more than ever that customers are looking to online services to manage their money and it is key for Banks and Societies to provide their members with intelligent and safe platforms to do so.

The current pandemic is likely to have long-lasting effects on how and where we work. I am confident that our commitment to the Women in Finance Charter and our commitment internally to our people, will enable us to provide a workplace that is both diverse and inclusive now and for the future… whatever it may bring!

Carole Charter

Chief Commercial Officer


Take a look here for more information on our commitment to the Women in Finance Charter, and what it means for The Cambridge.