Figures, Facts and Feelings about Women in Finance

In 2018, 26% of the managers in Danish banks and mortgage banks were women. How does it affect the financial industry? It is important to talk about.

We met Per Brobakke, to do exactly this. Per, who works as Partner Projects and Platform Manager and is Employee Representative on our Board, grew up in Norway surrounded by women and he did not reflect much on gender balance. Today he stresses the importance to talk about it.


In 2018, 26% of the managers in Danish banks and mortgage banks were women. How do you feel it affects the industry that only a quarter of managers are women?

I am a man, but I grew up with a single mother and three sisters. I have a wife and a daughter, so of course I want women to come forward in the world. It comes naturally to me, perhaps thanks to growing up in Norway, which is more advanced and progressive compared to Denmark in terms of being aware of gender balance and establishing women’s quotas. During my career, I have had several female managers, our CEO is a woman, and I have seriously never given it a thought.

In 2022, it can be difficult to understand that we the need to address this topic, but when you have a look at the statistics, you realise that we need to. Particularly in the financial industry.

Nevertheless, I think we witness a great movement in the younger generations. Perhaps the financial industry is lagging a little behind. Historically, it has been characterised by a conservative and traditional culture, and this may have challenged some women. Hence, it could take a few more years before societal developments are fully reflected in our industry.


In 2022, 51% of BNP Paribas Personal Finance employees in the Nordics are women. How do you feel that it contributes to BNP Paribas Personal Finance that there is a fairly equal distribution between men and women?

When we talk about gender, I think we have to be careful not to make too many generalisations. For example, how managers act according to their gender. However, I find that a sound gender balance is an advantage.

Something happens when you have a mix of people. You do not experience a dynamic to the same degree if you only gather a group of men or women. The balance is important.

Let us turn to you, Per: What was your path into the financial industry?

I am a humanist, so it is a combination of coincidences that has led me to work at a bank.

At the age of 16, I wanted to be an aircraft mechanic, so I left home as the training took place in another town. After two years, I realised that it was not for me; I changed direction into first International Politics and subsequently ended up studying History at the University of Copenhagen.

Before graduating, I got a full-time job offer from a Headhunter company that I could not resist. After a year, the financial crisis hit us and the demand for headhunters disappeared .

Several jobs later, I work as a Technical Support at Nokia and I am tipped about a job opening here at the bank thanks to my new network of Norwegian colleagues, and I get the job.

My career path here at BNP Paribas Personal Finance has also been diversified. I have contributed to building the Norwegian Team, I have worked as a Team Leader, Project Manager, and today I work as Partner Projects and Platform Manager.

While we must continue to talk about Women in Finance, we should also highlight other forms of diversity as educational background. Financial people come in many varieties and I am just one of them.