Fintech companies are known for bridging the gap between finance and digitization by “disrupting” a very conventional industry with innovative technology. Yet, the question that is commonly asked is why can’t it funnel its disruptive energy in addressing gender imbalances in the workplace?
Although there are many women paving the way within the fintech industry, the general representation of women in leadership remains low when it comes to leadership positions and across the workforce.
Current Landscape For Women In Fintech
In a study by the management consulting firm, Oliver Wyman, it was discovered that on fintech boards, only 14% were women. This is even lower than the banking sector which managed to reach 23% in 2019. Of the total number of fintechs surveyed, 39% did not have a single woman on their board.
A number of factors can explain why the aforementioned is the current reality of women in fintech. One is that there is a lack of women in financial services and even more scarcity of women throughout the tech sector. Women also struggle to get venture funding and they must also struggle with wage inequality.
Why Women In Fintech Should Be Supported
Tackling this gender gap is a critical issue that can translate into growth in business. The future of fintech could require more soft skills than just coding and software development. Emotional Intelligence or (EQ) will be more of an asset for fintech companies. These soft skills can be used for gaining the trust of investors, connecting with consumers, and interviewing future employees.
It is to be assumed that, as these skills become increasingly more beneficial and desirable within the fintech industry, it only makes sense that there would be more gender diversity to fill in these gaps.
How Should Women In Fintech Be Supported
As the industry continues to evolve and implement these changes, women should advocate these skills and use them as selling points to get them into the industry. This will mean directing attention towards behavioral science such as philosophy, engineering, technology, art, science, mathematics (STEM), a “growth mindset”, and creativity.
Another fact to consider is that there is a great demand to serve the needs of women as customers. That is $700 billion of untapped revenue every year.
Tatyana Zharkova, Managing Director, The Fintech Association Of Russia added:
“It is critical for women to participate in the development of the fintech industry. Women are able to take risks – accepting measured and reasonable ones for good reasons – and to manage these risks. The world is rapidly changing, so we need unconventional solutions, open-mindedness and mental mobility.”
Here are some practical solutions that fintechs can implement to begin the move towards change:
1. Regardless of size, make diversity a priority.
Fintechs can proceed by actively seeking two women candidates on recruitment lists, developing flexible family policies, and setting definite targets and measuring them based on that.
2. Change The Culture
Seek to create an inclusive culture from day one. Ensure that it is open, respectful, and values gender diversity. Of course, this will originate from the leadership, with expectations set for acceptable behaviors.
3. Innovate with a “Customer First” mentality
Seek to understand the unmet needs of women by talking to your customers. The insights gained will fuel innovation and customer-led design to deliver the best solutions.
It is clear that changes are in order within the fintech industry and there is much work to be done. Fostering programs that aim to educate men on this issue and the role they play in encouraging female representation within fintech can also prove beneficial.