The House Financial Services Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee held a hearing on Thursday, March 18 to address the disclosure of diversity data from regulated financial entities.
The financial services industry plays a critical role in the business of fashion through providing access to capital and banking products for emerging and established brands; and often serving as a conduit between consumers, retailers, and how products are purchased and sold. As consumers rely more on digital commerce, fashion partnerships with the financial services sector, particularly around fintech, will only increase.
One recurring point throughout the hearing was the need to measure data to move forward and make change. As Subcommittee Chairwoman Joyce Beatty (D-OH) stated, â€śWhat gets measured, gets done.â€ť
Subcommittee Chairwoman Beatty also announced the Diversity Data Accountability Act. The Act requires regulated financial entities, including banks, to disclose their diversity policies and practices to their respective regulators. Section 342 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act established Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWIs) at federal financial regulatory agencies and required OMWIs to develop diversity and inclusion standards for their regulated entities, including the collection of diversity data. However, certain agencies have considered the collection of diversity data to be voluntary.
Standardizing what constitutes as diversity data also matters. Carolynn Johnson, CEO of DiversityInc and hearing witness, noted that for a long time, diversity data has focused on gender, and moving forward, â€śWe have to make sure that we are looking at all dimensions of diversity, not just the ones that give us lift in the news cycle.â€ť
Earlier this month, when the New York Times asked fashion brands and retailers about the percentage of Black talent on their executive team and throughout their workforce, companies contacted â€śbrought up their success in gender representation.â€ť However many did not specifically address diversity for Black talent.
Read more on the recent diversity, equity and inclusion hearing here.