During the hearing, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, discussed the importance of examining the systemic exclusion of women, people of color, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ+ individuals, veterans, and other members of society who have to fight for a seat at the table.
The Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion, created by Chairwoman Waters and led by Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion, is the first of its kind in Congress, dedicated to looking at diversity and inclusion issues under the Committee’s jurisdiction.
See Chairwoman Waters’ opening statement at yesterday’s hearing and her exchange with the witness below.
Chairwoman Waters’ Opening Statement:
Thank you very much, Madam Chair. Today we are convening for the first time the Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion, which will examine and resolve the systemic economic exclusion of women, people of color, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ+ individuals, veterans, and other members of our society who have to fight for a seat at the table.
I’m pleased that the Subcommittee is beginning with this hearing on an issue that has stymied the financial services industry, including women and minorities in management.
Beginning in February 2005, 14 years ago, the Financial Services Committee requested that the GAO review diversity trends in the financial services industry. In 2006, GAO looked at diversity from 1993 to 2004 and reported that the percentage of minorities in management rose from 11.1 percent to 15.5, with the percentage of African-Americans rising from 5.6 percent to 6.6 percent.
GAO has since updated its report several times. In GAO’s most recent report covering 2007 to 2015, minority representation increased from 17 percent to 21 percent. However, the percentage of African-Americans in senior roles decreased from 6.5 percent to 6.3 percent and all minorities continue to be underrepresented.
For years, policymakers, diversity advocates, and diverse professionals in the financial services industry have sent the message that diversity and inclusion must be more than words—they require action and resolve. Unfortunately, the data shows that the financial services industry lacks both.
Today, this Subcommittee begins the process of shining light on these trends and begins its work to improve the industry so that our financial system works for everybody.
I am so pleased that Ms. Beatty has taken the leadership on this Diversity Subcommittee. There’s nobody, no one else, who can do a job better than she can.
Watch Chairwoman Waters’ Q&A with Daniel Garcia-Diaz below: