CFP BOARD - Women's Initiative - Increasing the Number of Women CFP® Professionals

August 2014

Nancy Kistner

Nancy Kistner, CFP®

From the Chair of CFP Board's Women's Initiative Council


Welcome to the inaugural issue of the CFP Board Women's Initiative (WIN) newsletter. As one of the many professionals who expressed support for WIN and its mission to increase the number of women CFP® professionals, this monthly newsletter will serve as a way for you to stay informed about our efforts. It will also alert you to articles of interest and importance in the discussion of gender parity in the workplace. We hope this information will be helpful as you join us in our efforts to raise awareness about the need for more women CFP® professionals.


Did You Know?

CFP Certification and Career Satisfcation Among Women

CFP® Certification and Career Satisfaction Among Women

CFP Board research showed women CFP® professionals are much happier with their careers than women financial professionals without the certification. Read More


Harvard Business Review: Second-Generation Gender Bias Hard to Detect, but Still Damaging

A Harvard Business Review article defines second-generation gender bias as “invisible barriers” created by firm cultures, structures, and practices that inadvertently reward men while putting women at a disadvantage.


One example present in financial services is the double standard for male and female leaders.  Men’s assertiveness and confidence are often respected by colleagues, whereas these qualities in women are seen as abrasive. 

Another problem -- similarly identified in CFP Board’s white paper, “Making More Room for Women in the Financial Planning Profession” -- is the low number of women leaders in the financial planning profession.  The HBR authors argue that a shortage of role models is sometimes understood by women who might otherwise aspire to professional leadership as an indication that their gender will be a real disadvantage.


The authors recommend that firms openly discuss these issues with their employees, heightening the awareness of situations and practices where second-generation bias may be at play. 


Discuss Now


Women Rising: The Unseen Barriers
Harvard Business Review
September 2013
Available by subscription


Men Needed to Support the Women’s Initiative!

A few men CFP® professionals have expressed a view that WIN is an exclusive, “women only” effort, with no benefit for men. Nothing could be further from the truth!


We need the ideas and voices of all CFP® professionals -- male and female -- who share our conviction that opening the doors to more women strengthens our profession in all respects, and makes it more responsive to the needs, concerns, and lifestyles of the American people.

An April 29 article in The Atlantic discussed some of the reasons men may be reluctant to speak up for their female colleagues, even when they fully support the idea of gender parity and the professional advancement of women.  


According to the author (a man), men’s silence may be due to their concern that they will not be taken seriously, given that they do not have the same vested interest in the issue as women do.  In particular, they may fear a lack of support from women themselves, who see these men as “unqualified” to speak about the issues women face.  

Clearly bias works both ways. One of the goals of WIN is to shine a light on gender bias wherever it appears in order to grow and improve our profession. 

Why So Many Men Don't Stand Up for Their Female Colleagues  
The Atlantic
April 29, 2014 


Learn about the Women’s Initiative at Upcoming Women Advisors Forum Events

CFP Board Managing Director of Public Policy and Communications Marilyn Mohrman-Gillis and Consumer Advocate Eleanor Blayney, CFP® will be discussing recommendations from the recent WIN research study at upcoming Women Advisors Forum events in Chicago (October 21) and San Francisco (November 20). Register


What You Can Do Today to Promote and Support WIN

One of the biggest barriers for women to becoming CFP® professionals is simply not knowing about financial planning, or having misconceptions about what the profession involves.


If we are to change this, we must all start talking about financial planning, what CFP® professionals do for their clients, and how this profession is fulfilling and well-suited to many women.  Most importantly, women CFP® professionals need to share their stories with career-minded women and girls. 


Here are some ideas to help you start talking:

  • Participate on the WIN Forum at and encourage your colleagues to do so as well. Speak up and out about what we all can do together to grow the number of women CFP® professionals.

  • Talk to your female friends, sisters, daughters, and nieces about what you do as a CFP® professional, and why being a financial planner can be a tremendously fulfilling and worthwhile career.

  • Reach out to women just entering the profession to share your experience and support. Offer to be a mentor.

  • Volunteer to speak to students or to girls’ groups about the importance of financial literacy and financial planning. If you are planning to speak about WIN at an event or to a group, contact us!  We are happy to share talking points and other materials for your presentation.





The mission of CFP Board’s Women’s Initiative (WIN) is to identify why relatively few women choose to become part of the financial planning profession, to make recommendations for encouraging and supporting women to pursue careers in financial planning, and to undertake efforts and campaigns to address the “feminine famine” in financial planning.


Learn more about the Initiative




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