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 is still trailing behind other sectors in terms of employing women at senior levels Click To Tweet
Fintech came under criticism recently when it was reported that it is trailing far behind other industries in terms of having women employed at senior levels. The Financial Times reported worrying statistics on the percentage of women executives in Fintech globally, which is just 8%, compared with the 22% in the major banks.The representation percentage of women in Fintech stands at around 8% compared to 22% in banks Click To Tweet
While the figures for women at senior levels in the banks aren’t particularly stellar either, the gap in Fintech does raise some questions. 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. But how is Fintech as an industry supporting women who do aspire to senior positions, and making sure their companies are appealing environments for professional women going forward?How do we ensure that companies are supporting women who aspire to senior posts? Click To Tweet
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, and those in senior roles do not see the small number of women at the top level as an impediment to their own career progression. Kathy Adams, Head of Financial Planning and Analysis for ETX Capital, came to work with the Fintech brand seven years ago having had 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.There has been a real positive change in recent years in terms of networking opportunities for women Click To Tweet
“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.”
Adams also feels there is a supportive attitude amongst female professionals in her industry, and 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 that makes female professionals feel welcome and valued, such as supporting mentoring schemes for junior staff, taking a zero tolerance approach to discrimination, as well as making sure that positive role models such as her own are recognized and serve 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 recognised,” 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.
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Alice Bonasio is a VR and Digital Transformation Consultant and Tech Trends’ Editor in Chief. She also regularly writes for Fast Company, Ars Technica, Quartz, Wired and others. Connect with her on LinkedIn and follow @alicebonasio on Twitter.
Also published on Medium.