Women In Fintech: How They Are Rising To The Top And Smashing Barriers

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If women represent 42 percent of all entrepreneurs, then why aren’t there more women leaders in fintech? This is a question that is inspiring women to climb higher in the corporate fintech startup scene and influence younger generations of women to get involved in STEM. 

The underrepresentation of women in tech is not a recent trend, and the progress in closing the gender gap within the industry has been slow. Right now, women make up only 25 percent of computer science professionals, which is about half the amount of women employed in other scientific fields. 

In fintech in particular, as innovative as the culture strives to be, diversity and inclusivity in this industry could still use some work. In this article, we’ll take a look at the challenges women face in the sector and how woman leaders are breaking gender barriers and creating a culture of inclusivity to improve the fintech industry.

Challenges for women in fintech

Overcoming gender bias has been an issue for women in the workplace across all industries, even in the purportedly progressive culture of tech. The challenges women face in fintech are only perpetuated by the fact that women are underrepresented in leadership positions, with only 20 percent of executive fintech roles held by women. 

In a fast-paced industry like fintech, the unequal expectations put on women to balance both personal and professional responsibilities is quite noticeable. The pandemic served to highlight this trend, with remote work bringing to light the still-prevalent imbalances in the responsibilities women are shouldered with at home. A lack of support during and after pregnancy is another barrier impacting women across many industries.

What’s more, while the average pay gap in tech is 3 percent, this gap increases significantly for minorities. LGBTQ+ women experience a pay gap of 8 percent, and Hispanic and Black women are paid 9 percent less than their cis white male counterparts. 

Fintech is where women need to be right now

One of the biggest opportunities for women to make a difference in fintech is by increasing woman usership. Research shows that of the 1.7 billion unbanked individuals worldwide, 55 percent are women. This digital divide provides a great opportunity for fintech to create apps and programs that cater to the banking needs of women and their families.

Fintech provides a variety of positions in areas like payments, crypto, digital banking, sustainable finance, and market intelligence. So no matter where a woman’s talents and expertise lie, there is a place for her in the fintech industry. 

Another application of fintech in which women are significantly lacking representation is online trading. Both for personal financial growth and developing professional skills, women can get involved in online trading to get a foot in the door of an industry that brings together technology and finance. 

According to online trader Gary Stevens of Hosting Canada, technical trading is one of the most effective strategies for investing in the stock market.

“As the name suggests, technical trading focuses on the quantitative and applied aspects of trading,” Stevens said. “Utilizing graphs and charts to analyze stock, along with index graphs, technical trading looks for patterns, such as signs of convergence or divergence in the data points that may indicate buy or sell signals to the trader.”

With the acceleration of digitization and changing consumer behavior, the fintech industry is projected to grow and evolve dramatically. The U.K. holds a 10 percent global share of this sector, generating over £11 billion ($15.3 billion) in the year 2020. These factors have helped position fintech in a vital economic role, meaning women in the industry can expect job security and plenty of opportunities for career growth in the years to come. 

Women breaking fintech barriers

Companies that ensure better gender diversity within executive positions and technical teams are 25 percent more likely to outperform their peers. Yet, less than 30 percent of the fintech workforce in the U.K. is women, and only 5 percent are founders. 

Getting more females involved in STEM and finance from a young age is easier when there are role models available. Here are three women in fintech who are leading the way for more women to follow in their footsteps:

Kathy Lien

Kathy Lien has been active on Wall Street since she was 18 years old, and at the age of 23 launched DailyFX.com. She has become a leader in forex trading, authored numerous books and articles, and is now a founding partner and managing director of FX strategy at Bforex

Louise O’Shea

Louise O’Shea started her career as PwC’s business assurance manager. She then went on to strategize at Fujitsu and started working as the finance director at Confused.com for many years before officially becoming the company’s CEO.

Tribeni Chougule

Tribeni Chougule held several positions at Wipro Technologies before joining Visa in 2013. She is now the head of change management and leads the Europe Finance Integration Program. Specializing in how fintech organizations can reduce bias when developing AI products, this innovator is one to watch in the coming years. 

Conclusion

Finance has traditionally been a male-dominated industry, and fintech has unfortunately inherited this flaw. Fortunately, in the face of adversity, there are strong female fintech leaders inspiring women to smash barriers all the way to the top. Fintech needs women, and fintech leaders must continue to make changes in hiring and corporate cultures so women are recognized for their abilities and contributions in this growing industry.


Nahla Davies, Technical Writer, Enterprise/SaaS Expert headshot

Nahla Davies is from Brooklyn, New York. Since 2015, she has worked with enterprise clients around the world developing RegTech protocols and best practices. She shares her insights at nahlawrites.com.