Here are a couple of comments we received in when undertaking our 'Gender Bias' poll.
1. 'I feel the most obvious reason there aren't more women at the top in the banking industry is that we don't fit into the culture, we don't like the culture, and so many of us don't jump into it and even fewer are prepared to fight our way up if we do.
I've been working in the industry since 1997. It is a man's world here, and in general the men in finance are combative, mean and nasty (at least at work). And there's no reason for this other than it appears to be built into the system.
I don't like to be in this kind of environment, and I expect most women feel the same way - and so we try to avoid controntations and most of us are reluctant to fight our corner.
The other obvious reason that women don't advance to senior positions in the industry is that the culture is one of long work hours. Ten hour days are the minimum, with people often working very later into the evening.
And this obviously isn't realistic for working mothers to do. In general, companies pay lip service to concepts like work / life balance / flexible work arrangements. The reality is that if you want to appear to be valuable in the company, if you want to not get laid off and possibly get promoted, you have to be seen on the premises and seen to be putting in long hours'.
2. 'Most workplaces in the industry are a meritocracy. Although there are some old-fashioned firms that are still calculating their yields using difference engines, the majority of firms will promote whoever is better at the job.
A large number of women, however, do decide to divert more time to family life and give up working. And that's certainly not a bad thing, but it does reduce the pool of promotable women.
It seems to me, though, that this so-called 'drive for equality' is pushing us towards an environment of reverse sexism; an environment that will promote resentment and will probably lead to the top jobs not always going to the right people by accident of gender'.