Citi’s gender reboot shows the way in South Korea
South Korea must do more to address diversity in the workplace. A few of the country’s banks are leading by example.
Citi’s South Korea business is well known for the connectivity it offers its global and domestic clients, its solid investment banking and corporate banking franchise, and a resilient business model that ensures that it is well-positioned for growth in Asia’s fourth-largest economy.
But one thing that makes the US bank stand out is its push for diversity.
Myung-soon Yoo, who has led Citi’s operations in South Korea since November 2020, is the first woman to hold that position at Citi and is a distinct rarity in this patriarchal society.
In July 2022, the Women Leaders Index, tabulated by the Global Government Forum, reported that female executives hold just 6.3% of board positions at Korea’s 353 biggest companies. All told, the index finds, just 914 executive positions out of 14,418 are held by women.
More broadly, despite an abundance of well-educated women, Korea has the widest gender pay gap – 31.1% – among the 38 members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Clearly, the business world is changing, and Korea’s finance leadership should not be just a man’s game
All the available data – whether from the OECD, the IMF or Goldman Sachs, whose analysts coined the term womenomics – indicate that nations that make the best use of their female workforces are the most vibrant, entrepreneurial and productive.