A British-Indian financial expert, recently honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for her work in the field of inclusion and diversity, says she is on a mission to fix the diversity gap within the financial services sector, especially for women.
Dr Bijna Kotak Dasani, an Executive Director at global investment bank Morgan Stanley, was awarded an MBE by Queen Elizabeth II for “Services to Diversity and Inclusion in Financial Services” last month.
She now wants to make use of that platform to support women in India as she advocates the upskilling of women in the financial services workforce.
“This fix in the diversity gap needs to be a firm partnership between both men and women and the shared responsibility discussion needs to extend beyond the boardroom and into the home environment,” said Dasani.
“My primary focus is on promoting women into senior roles and I will be extending mentoring capabilities to India with a focus on helping as many young women as possible thrive and progress in their career trajectories,” she said.
The UK-based professional graduated from De Montfort University (DMU) in Leicester with a degree in Business Administration and went on to study at the University of Oxford, where her postgraduate thesis examined gender parity in the C-suite within the UK financial services sector.
Since completing her studies, Dasani has become a strong advocate for equal opportunities in the workplace and serves on numerous boards, including the Inclusive Companies Network, Generation Success, CIO Net, Fintech Connect and Cajigo.
She said: “My mother as a single parent raised three children whilst working full-time in financial services and the working world was very different then. We have relatively new layers of awareness, protocols and policies in the corporate world today to accommodate and support flexible working arrangements and equal opportunities.
“I am keen to better understand assumptions about gender, social mobility and ethnicity stereotypes. There is significant evidence to suggest inclusion of diverse backgrounds leads to better outcomes in organisations. Businesses therefore do better when they truly reflect the communities, and the segments they aim to serve.”
Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Dasani has worked across some of the world’s largest corporations in the financial services sector, including Lloyds Banking Group, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse. She has spent a number of years between Wall Street in New York and London, as well as in Asia.
Dasani is also working with her alma mater DMU in her hometown of Leicester to develop a partnership that will offer students from social mobility backgrounds the opportunity to gain professional mentoring and work experience in the investment banking world.
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