International Women’s Day 2023 is an opportunity to reflect on the progress made by women in business and society. While there have been significant strides made towards gender equality in recent decades, studies show that women still face significant obstacles in business.
A new report by The Reykjavik Index found that 1 in 10 respondents felt uncomfortable having a female CEO, while 28% of women in the UK believe investors won’t consider them as a viable investment opportunity simply due to their gender.
Despite these obstacles, there are signs of progress in the fintech industry, which is becoming more diverse, with more women in boardrooms. This article explores how innovation and disruption in fintech are happening in conjunction with increased diversity in the industry.
Lack of diversity in business
The Reykjavik Index for Leadership found that in the current climate, trust for women in positions of power has actually decreased, and 52% of Brits share the sentiment that women must work twice as hard or be twice as qualified as men to reach the same objectives in business.
This issue is further exacerbated when it comes to female-founded companies. Women account for 1 in 3 entrepreneurs in Britain, yet data shows that only 16% of all equity finance is raised by female business owners.
Female leaders in fintech
Despite the lack of diversity in the industry, there are prominent women working in fintech who are making a difference. Maria Campbell, COO of Griffin, has pioneered inclusive, people-led strategies for tech unicorns such as Snyk, GoCardless, and Monzo.
She believes that the fintech industry has a larger talent pool to hire from, consisting of more people from demographics that are typically underrepresented in tech companies. “More diversity in the candidate pool has been proven to result in increased diversity in companies, which is what we’re slowly seeing happen.”
Authentic diversity practices
Greater authenticity when it comes to diverse practices has also been brewing in the space. Companies are now being held accountable for not taking the necessary steps to build richly diverse workforces.
Ben Aier, VP of Product at Yapily, says that having more female fintech leaders could increase a company’s ROI and culture. She believes that the growing acknowledgement that diversity is not just a buzzword or checkbox exercise has made diversity a top agenda for the industry.
Flexible working and the post-covid era
Other trends that have driven greater diversity in the workplaces of fintech and insurtech industries are hybrid work patterns and flexible working practices. These were implemented as a result of the pandemic and have left their mark on today’s work environments.
Romi Savova, Founder and CEO of PensionBee, believes that flexible working practices have been a game-changer for women. “The pandemic has given us an opportunity to redefine the workplace, and I believe that we’re only just beginning to see the benefits of this. There’s been a shift in expectations of what work can look like, and it’s no longer acceptable for businesses to dictate rigid working hours and practices.”
While there are still significant obstacles for women in business, there are signs of progress in the fintech industry. More diverse practices and a larger talent pool have led to increased diversity in companies.
Flexible working practices have also been a game-changer for women, allowing them to balance work and personal life more effectively. The fintech industry has an opportunity to lead the way in creating a more diverse and inclusive work environment.
By doing so, they will not only benefit their employees but also their customers and ultimately their bottom line.