FUND Community Institute continues to analyze and share data from its recent study, Perception versus Reality: Women and Change in the CDFI Industry (available at www.fundci.org). This month, FUND Community Institute turns its attention to a discussion of the resources available for women to lead and succeed in the CDFI industry.
Our survey of CDFI stakeholders found that 45% of all survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed that there are resources available for women to lead and succeed in the CDFI industry. Our key informant interviewees added a nuance to this finding by often noting that while there are many available industry resources, very few if any are for women only. Some women felt that trainings for women only were not necessary while others were interested. Other findings include:
- 82% of female survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the CDFI Women’s Network will be a valuable resource for women in the industry.
- The most common resources for women that survey respondents cited were the CDFI Women’s Network and Opportunity Finance Network (many referencing the Landit partnership).
- Another resource mentioned frequently was informal mentorship from other women in the CDFI industry.
- Other resources available to all members of the CDFI community include conferences and on-line trainings
In addition to what is currently available, women were also asked what resources they would like to see made available so that women can lead and succeed in the CDFI industry. By far the most common thing women would like to see is a formal mentorship program for women in the industry (survey findings support the feasibility of this with more than 66% of women saying they would be willing to mentor another woman in the industry). The other resource women would be the most interested in is leadership training (with many specifying that it be designed and geared towards women).
Women were also interested in seeing more networking opportunities. Other items of interest include requests for more research on pay and roles of women as well as gender bias training.
Next month we will be back with information on differences in how men and women assess the roles of women in the CDFI industry. In the meantime, we would love to hear from you about any mentoring experiences you have had?