Encouraging Women to Lead in Private Equity is Essential to Creating Increased Growth and Value

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Summit Partner Corinne Mason recently attended the 7th annual Kayo Women’s Private Equity Summit in Boston. The Summit brings together the nation’s leading women in private equity for networking, deal-making and professional development. In the following piece, Corinne shares her thoughts, reflections and learnings from her time at the conference:


This week, as I attended the Kayo Women’s Private Equity Summit in Boston, I was struck by the overwhelming recognition of the need to increase the presence of women in senior leadership roles, on boards, and within investment decision-making groups. Unfortunately, I was also reminded of the remarkable lack of gender parity that still exists in these spaces throughout the industry.

Across the board, research has shown that women have a positive impact on investment decisions and financial planning.

  • The inclusion of women in the investment decision process increases the level of patience and discipline among investment teams. (Huffington Post)
  • Teams that include women often outperform those that have only men, as women tend to bring more stability and consistency to planning. (Wells Fargo Stories)
  • While women and men produce similar fund management performance outcomes, women-led teams create more value in equity fund management. (Morningstar Report)
  • Women on boards generate better decisions as their presence increases diversity and contributes to an innovation culture. (Boardroom Diversity: When Women Lead)

Additionally, a large amount of wealth is managed by women (Allianz).

  • In the U.S., women play a prominent role in personal wealth management – nine out of ten eventually manage their family’s wealth.
  • 48% of estates worth more than $5 million are controlled by women.
  • More than half of the investors in the U.S. stock market are women.

So, if women increase performance for investments and much of the wealth in the US is managed by women, why do they still hold fewer than 20% of the overall private equity senior roles?

Women make up 50% of the population, but only represent 30% of the PE industry. Today, far fewer women than men are entering private equity – only about 30% of junior associates are female. Women are also moving out of the space mid-career more frequently than their male counterparts, with only about 19% advancing to senior roles in PE firms. (Financial Advisor)

These statistics and realities highlight the need for networking organizations like Kayo and the Women’s Private Equity Summit.

One of the factors that will help attract and retain women in the PE world is, undoubtedly, the presence of other successful women. Women in PE need a network of strong, powerful, and progressive female mentors to help find a path to success.

As a woman in a senior leadership position, and having coached many successful female leaders over time, I can personally attest to the need for strong role models, mentors, and like-minded individuals who can help women succeed in fields more traditionally dominated by men. In reality, women and men together need to take action to support and advance opportunities for women in PE.

I was very encouraged by the interactions and support I saw at the Kayo summit. I hope the relationships started at this conference will kickstart new networking opportunities that will begin to close the gap for women.

As said by former World Bank President Robert Zoellick, “the empowerment of women is just smart economics.”