" class="no-js "lang="en-US"> International Women’s Day - Ladies Stay Winning in 2022
Wednesday, November 30, 2022

International Women’s Day – Ladies Stay Winning in 2022

– Aniqah Majid & Bobby Suman, Fintech Finance

In 2016, the UK government established the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter. This was a nationwide effort to actively skin the financial sector of its gendered hegemony and pronounce the central role women play in the industry. In the five-year review last year, the Charter found the number of women in executive leadership would increase from 14% to 22% in 2021, and women in board positions would increase from 23% to 32%. 

With female-led fintechs launching and securing million-dollar funding rounds in the global west and east, the agency for women in fintech is beginning to prosper. As a woman navigating the field, I’ve found FinTech to be a hotbed for change; with the accessibility provided by online tools and a plethora of different currencies and payment types, women have a bigger opportunity here to create their own space. 

London-based fintech Altada, co-founded by Niamh Parker, provides AI solutions to the financial, security and health sectors, recently laid out its plan for U.S. expansion, growing its presence in the notorious Silicon Valley. This comes right off their $10 million round of funding last year. In the south, women-fronted fintech in Africa has more than doubled in the last few years. 

BACE Group, founded by tech entrepreneur Charlette N’Guessan Desiree, delivers AI software that helps universities verify students for financial services – this with a focus on students with darker skin and African features. This trailblazing technology comes in response to the grave injustice AI and facial recognition software has subjected people of colour to in the past in finance. 

Women are holding up the globe in the financial sector. However, equality is anything but close, female representation has a long way to go, and that will be reflected in the industry backing.

To maintain this momentum, the financial sector needs to look at a grassroots level and encourage more women to see the possibilities in fintech. 

“I wasn’t looking to fintech for a career, I fell into it by accident”, said Jackie Barwell, the Director of (fraud) Product Management at ACI Worldwide. “There’s little or no ‘noise’ out there that showcases what great and interesting opportunities exist for women. We must strive to showcase it as a great place to work and build careers for women, no matter what role.”

Throughout their schooling experiences and when it comes to picking options and pathways for their future, young women should be encouraged to enter all industries, especially our own, so that we aren’t met with their talent by pure “accident” like Barwell, but with welcoming intention and desire. Amanda Mickleburgh, the Director of Product Merchant Fraud at ACI Worldwide. notes that “Fintech is a great industry to work in, but how many individuals said at school this was the career they wanted when they grew up?”

On a higher level, corporate culture and operations need to change, as this is where change and innovation seem to stagnate. 

Nurturing and mentorship amongst women in the industry must be adopted to assure women not only join, but stay in the financial sector. A recent Deloitte report found that women who feel their employers support them in balancing work and their personal commitments report higher levels of wellbeing and motivation. It is the community women have with their employers and colleagues that make a difference.

Nabilah Hussain, Head of FinCrime and 3S Money explains why this is so crucial. “Having a proactive approach in your professional development is key, find a mentor with expertise in the field in which you would like to pursue a career so you can get real-life insight into the job scope, challenges and potential paths for career progression. This will not only allow you to assess whether the career path is right for you but it will also equip you with the information you need to find relevant resources and training courses to boost your knowledge and upskill.

“A good mentor and leader will seize the opportunity to influence the professional development of a peer and will undoubtedly have some invaluable insight, experience and advice to share!”

Ensuring The Platform Elevates Female Voices 

FT Partners 2022 Women in Fintech report, released today, found that one of the main problems in gender equality is still funding. 72% of female founders emphasise the lack of access to capital as the number one barrier to starting a business. Though this may look like a deterrent, women coming into the sector and managerial and financial operations is still increasing, growing 70% from 2000. 

Mickleburgh went on to reflect that “the industry has a great (albeit still only burgeoning) female leadership presence, but there’s always room for more. To eliminate any bias and increase awareness, we need to remember to look back – what would we tell our 16-year-old selves? It’s time to take the industry to the future generation of female leaders and offer them a hand to carve a clear path into the industry.” 

Whether it’s a panel at a conference, a keynote speaker at an event or any other channels we may use to communicate with each other in our industry, we need to make room for female voices to be heard by those within and without the space. “Breaking the bias needs to start with the leaders in the industry today supporting and nurturing the talent of tomorrow. Our female leaders are in a great position to influence and grow the future of payments”, concluded Mickleburgh. 

Barwell’s conclusion sums up the discussion perfectly; “there are endless opportunities for women in fintech, and it’s time to eliminate the bias.” By making more room for each other, we make more room to grow together.  

Representation is crucial; it helps us visualise, aspire and dream. We need to ensure that the fintech space is best positioned to reflect the remarkable achievements of the women in our community, and is committed to advancing opportunities for women to continue to do so. 

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