Women in Finance and Equal Opportunities

In our bank, we strive for a gender balance of at least 60/40 at all levels of the organisation. We met Jenny Gaffner, Employee Representative on our Board and Nordic Head of B2C Marketing and Communications to talk about Women in Finance and equal opportunities.

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?

I believe that the two genders complement each other, which is why it is beneficial to have a gender-balanced population of colleagues.

It is important to foster and nurture a culture, where women enjoy equal opportunities and can grow in an organisation. A culture where you as a woman can feel safe in any situation, and where people take you just as seriously as if you were a man. That is the kind of culture we have here at BNP Paribas Personal Finance.

Still, the gender balance needs to be sound. It is not an asset in itself being a woman. When we promote skilled women, it should not entail that we disregard talented young men. To work strategically with gender balance, the perfect setup would be to have a sound gender balance and representatives from all generations in the workforce. We complement each other, and we can learn from each other.


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

My first reaction was “WOW”. I had assumed the share of women to be higher. I think the industry would have developed faster, e.g. in the area of digital business development, if the gender mix had been more balanced. The development of the banking sector has actually been relatively static in Denmark and Sweden, and when you extend the perspective to the rest of Europe, we have not really seen a lot of support to promote women, historically.

Women at the age of 30-45 years have to balance building a career while getting children simultaneously, and it can be a struggle. I think many women can identify themselves with becoming pregnant and thus becoming a problem at work.

I believe we can make a positive impact if we foster transparent dialogues and apply a solution oriented and collaborative approach. It should be fair to state: “I am woman, I am a manager, and I am a mother of two children, how do we make it work?”

Another general reflection about women at management level relates to the composition of the management. Often female managers represent areas as HR, Marketing and Communications. It might be even more impactful to support and promote female managers in areas, which tend to be male-dominated as e.g. Risk, IT and Finance.


A 2020 survey in the financial sector shows that women at all organisation levels – from managers to new employees – express higher management ambitions than men. What do you think about that?

That is fantastic! It is a message from the new generation. Women of today appear confident about themselves, their skills and capacities, and it is very positive to see that women are very ambitious. Let us focus on that, support them in their mission and make sure to attract them and help them grow and develop.