The financial technology sector, or “FinTech” for short, has been one of the hottest industries over the past few years. And while there are more women than ever before working in the field, they are still vastly outnumbered by their male counterparts.
In fact, according to Deloitte, only 12% of global fintech founders and co-founders are women, and only 6% of FinTechs have female CEOs. Not only are these numbers alarmingly low, but they are jarring given that funding for women-founded startups grows twice as fast as that for men.
So what can be done to increase the number of women in leadership positions in FinTech?
There are a few key things that female leaders can do to help pave the way for the next generation of women in the field. As Co-founder of Capitalixe, and a woman in FinTech myself, Iʼm sharing my insights on ways on how female leaders can help close the gender gap in FinTech. So grab yourself a cup of coffee (or tea), and letʼs get into it!
Why Do We Need More Women in Fintech?
Before we dive in, itʼs important to understand why having more women in leadership positions in the financial technology sector is so important.
For starters, businesses with women in senior leadership roles are proven to be more successful. In fact, the Pipelineʼs Women Count 2020 report found that London-listed companies with no women on their executive committees have a net profit of 1.5%, whereas those with more than one in three women at that level reach a 15.2% net profit margin.
Not only that, but companies with more women in leadership roles tend to be more innovative. A study by McKinsey found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams were 21% more likely to experience above-average profitability than those in the bottom quartile.
So not only are companies with women in leadership positions more successful, but theyʼre also more innovative. And thatʼs good news for the financial technology sector, which is all about innovation.
How can female leaders help close the gender gap in FinTech?
Mentoring is a great way for female leaders to support and encourage the next generation of women in FinTech. By sharing their own experiences, successes, and challenges with mentees, mentors can help equip them with the tools they need to succeed.
Mentoring relationships can be informal, with female leaders offering advice and guidance as needed. Alternatively, there are formal mentorship programs available through organizations like Mentor, Mentor Cruise, or Womenʼs Mentoring Network.
A typical mentoring session might involve discussing career goals, giving feedback on a professional presentation or pitch, or offering advice on how to navigate challenging situations at work.
Sponsorship is similar to mentorship but with a more focused approach. Rather than simply offering advice and guidance, sponsors actively promote and advocate for their protégés. This could involve providing opportunities for them to lead projects or taking them under their wing in a more formal way.
Sponsorships are sadly something male leaders are more likely to do for other men. Too often have we heard stories of women being passed over for promotions or opportunities in favour of their male colleagues, deals being done over golf games and business lunches, and women being left out of the “old boys club.” This creates a vicious cycle thatʼs hard for women to break into. But as more and more female leaders step up and start sponsoring protégés, we can begin to close the gender gap.
Championing Female Leaders
There are already many accomplished women working in FinTech, but they are often not as visible as their male counterparts. One way female leaders can help is by championing the successes of other women in the field.
This could involve things like promoting them on social media, nominating them for awards, or simply sharing their articles and blog posts with your network. By doing this, you can help raise the profile of female leaders in FinTech and inspire other women to achieve their own success.
Creating Opportunities for Growth
Female leaders in FinTech can also create opportunities for other women to grow and develop in their careers. This could involve things like offering paid internships, creating networking events specifically for women in the industry, or speaking at conferences on panels featuring only women.
By providing opportunities for other women to get involved in FinTech, female leaders can help increase the visibility of women in the industry and create a more inclusive environment.
Supporting Policy Change
There are many policy changes that could help close the gender gap in FinTech, but they wonʼt happen unless we actively support them. This could involve things like writing to your local representatives about the importance of equal access to funding for women-led startups or testifying in front of government committees about the need for greater diversity in the industry.
Female leaders can also support policy change by joining or starting organizations that lobby for change. For example, Women in FinTech Canada is a non-profit organization that advocates for the advancement of women in the Canadian FinTech industry.
Digital Literacy Initiatives
There is a huge digital divide between men and women when it comes to access to technology and education. In order to close the gender gap in FinTech, we need to address this issue head-on.
One way female leaders can help is by supporting digital literacy initiatives specifically for women. This could involve things like setting up computer labs in underserved communities, teaching basic coding classes or providing mentorship for women looking to enter the fintech industry.
Investing in Women-led Startups
One of the best ways to support female entrepreneurship is by investing in women-led startups. This provides much-needed financial support for these businesses and sends a strong message that women can be successful in the tech industry.
There are a number of venture capital firms that focus on investing in women-led startups, such as Backstage Capital and SheEO. But even if you donʼt have millions of dollars to invest, you can still support these businesses by sharing their products and services with your network.
Educating Young Women
One of the best ways to close the gender gap in FinTech is to educate young women about the opportunities available to them. This could involve things like hosting workshops and seminars at schools, colleges, and universities or speaking at career fairs.
Itʼs also important to encourage young women to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). This means not only encouraging them to study STEM subjects but also providing role models and mentors who can show them whatʼs possible.
Female leaders have the power to make a real difference in the fight for gender equality in FinTech. By mentoring, sponsoring, championing, creating opportunities, and supporting policy change, they can help pave the way for the next generation of women in the industry.