Tackling Fintech’s Gender Gap Problem
Diversity is essential to innovation. So it’s a sad to witness the enduring paradox of white male dominance in a sector such as tech. While there’s much left to do; however, in this guest post Ben Barlow looks at some hopeful signs emerging from the Fintech sector.
Fintech came under criticism recently when it was reported that it is trailing far behind other industries. Especially in terms of having women employed at senior levels. The Financial Times reported worrying statistics on the percentage of women executives in Fintech globally.
The current percentage of women occupying executive positions is just 8%, compared with the 22% in the major banks.
The figures for women at senior levels in the banks aren’t particularly stellar either. However, the gap in Fintech does raise some concerns. There are various theories around why it is so much bigger than the banking gender gap.
For instance, that Fintech is fed by both finance and technology as industries, and there are less women in the tech sector. With the current gender gap, one needs to ponder upon these questions —
- How is Fintech as an industry supporting women who do aspire to level up to senior positions?
- How is it making sure their companies are appealing environments for professional women going forward?
Fintech’s Ongoing Positive Changes
It is important to note that while there may only be 8% representation from women at the very highest levels (board level executives), more women are finding success in Fintech careers right now. Those in senior roles do not see the small number of women at the top level as an impediment to their own career progression.
For instance, Kathy Adams, Head of Financial Planning and Analysis for ETX Capital, came to work with the Fintech brand seven years ago. She’s had previous experience in other sectors, including real estate and media. She believes that — at least as far as her company is concerned — the necessary elements are in place to support ambitious and talented women to succeed in reaching their goals.
“I’ve never felt this was an issue here at ETX as I was recruited by a woman, and when I came in there were other women at senior levels in the business. The number of women across the business has also steadily increased in the time I’ve been here, most noticeably in the technology roles.” — Kathy Adams, ETX Capital
Helping Cultivate a Healthy Culture
Adams feels there is a supportive attitude amongst female professionals in her industry. She believes this is an important factor in driving improvements from within the sector.
“I’ve noticed a real positive change in the last few years in terms of networking opportunities for women within the industry and initiatives set up by women to support their peers and the next generation of women coming in.”
She added that there are important, on-going ways the industry can help foster a culture, one that makes female professionals feel welcome and valued. Some of the methods include —
- Supporting mentoring schemes for junior staff
- Taking a zero tolerance approach to discrimination
- Making sure that positive role models such as Adams herself are recognized, and serving to inspire the next generation of girls to enter the profession in the first place.
“In terms of being a positive example, it’s important to make sure the female success stories get put out there and recognized,” she says.
While it can be easy to identify problems in gender equality within a sector, it is much harder to find concrete solutions. And while it is important to continue to call out bias and inequality, it is also important to recognize where strides are being made in the right direction, and make sure we build on that to ensure a better and more diverse tech industry for everyone.
Thank you for reading.
Originally published at Alice Bonasio.