Women in Fintech
The fintech industry has proven to set a spectacular example of industrial revolution and advancements. The industry is relatively new in the global economy, implying that it is still in its infancy and has a vast potential for progress. Other than the key developments that have taken place in the last few years, various insights have surfaced vis-à-vis gender disparity in the fintech fraternity.
Gender gaps have been a cause of concern in many areas of life. Fintech seems to be following the global trend of gender disparity which is prevalent in many other industries. Male domination in the fintech industry is because of reasons that have prevailed for many years. However, because fintech is in its developmental stage, there is immense scope for nipping the problem in the bud and bridging the opportunity gap between different genders.
Females in Fintech
Female associations and participation in the fintech industry have seen remarkable growth in recent years. In 2010, for every 96 men in the founding teams of fintech, there were only 4 women. In 2020, the percentage increased to almost 30%. However, the number of female founders and leaders remains low even today. The percentage of women leaders in the fintech industry is around 10%, of which 6% are CEOs, and the rest include founders, CIOs, CTOs, etc.
Apart from leadership, the female percentage at the employee and workforce level in the fintech industry is only 30%, implying that other than representation, the mass is also prevalently male-dominated.
The fintech user fraternity tells a similar story. Because of various reasons behind the gender pay gap that is globally prevalent, women have a lower possibility of getting loans and credit. Within the unbanked and underbanked sector, the female gender holds the majority of being cut off and dissatisfied with financial services.
The female leadership progression is gradually surfacing alongside fintech’s growth. A study by IMF has revealed that big fintech firms, with a large workforce, have more women representation at a higher level than smaller companies. The same study also states that women-founded firms receive lower funding than male-founded companies. Countries in the West, Europe, and Asia report a higher percentage of female fintech leaders than African countries and the Middle-east.
Barriers for Women in Fintech
There is a wide gap between female and male dominance and participation in the fintech industry. Although the gap is gradually lessening with time, however, it is essential to analyze the reasons that bar women from reaching the top in futuristic industries like fintech. Some of the barriers are:
Low Digital Literacy
The female population has lower digital literacy than its counterparts because of reasons such as lower level and quality of education and unemployment.
Women-founded companies receive less funding compared to firms founded by men. The stigma involving women’s leadership plays a substantial role in influencing this subconscious bias in investors.
The percentage of female leaders in the industry is remarkably low, suggesting a lesser representation at the top levels contributing to lower support and aid for females who would otherwise be leading and founding fintech firms.
Social Responsibilities and Biases
An unnecessary bias overpowers decisions associated with women wrecking the support needed for growth. Apart from the bias women have been deemed prime caregivers by societal obligations, which hinders their potential growth and success.
Reasons for Promoting Female Leadership
Diversity has proven beneficial for making informed and better decisions. Gender diversity helps in promoting better decision-making, problem-solving, and enhanced performance, and it also opens doors for innovation and idea generation. Women have been the underserved and under supported section of society, which gives them the leverage to understand the unmet needs and the underserved segment. Women leaders with years of experience bring expertise and knowledge and prompt idea generation. Female leaders who are new to the industry bring fresh perspectives to old problems, making them an integral part of the industry.
The factors adding to the gender gap in leadership and participation in the fintech industry are constantly hindering the growth of women. People from all walks of life can take steps to bridge the gender gap and make the fintech industry more inclusive and powerful. The leadership in fintech companies can play a pivotal role in promoting women and an inclusive environment. Investors can choose to promote women founders by offering more opportunities and funding to female entrepreneurs.
One of the most essential steps in the progression of female leadership is networking and creating women-centric platforms and communities that help females collaborate and network. Women leaders, too, can help pave the way for new female leaders by offering mentorship. Hiring more women in the workforce would create a balanced environment that leaves no space for biases and allows peaceful coexistence of work and personal life. Ending the gender disparity would tremendously help in making the fintech industry more holistic, powerful, and inclusive.