We are seeing more women founders in their respective industries, however, one that continues to lag behind the others is fintech. Despite a lot of progress being made, there is still a long way to go.
Philipp Buschmann, co-founder and CEO of AAZZUR, the embedded finance integrator, spoke to The Fintech Times about why he believes fintech needs more women.
I believe that the fintech industry needs more women. As someone who was a part of the industry’s growth over the last few years, it is clear that fintech has revolutionised the way we interact with our finances. However, it is concerning that the fintech sector has been traditionally seen as a male-dominated industry, even though both male and female customers use the services the industry provides.
As an experienced entrepreneur who has seen huge advancements in the fintech industry, there is one area I feel that is lacking. Here’s why I believe the industry would benefit from more women.
Women need to see their needs recognised
Having more women in fintech will allow for a complimentary perspective as they bring their unique views and needs to the end product. This allows for much more diversity of thought, which in turn can translate to more innovative ideas, different solutions to challenges and a better overall customer experience.
As women make up a significant portion of the customer base for fintech products and services, more women working in the industry would allow for a clearer understanding of what products and services women want and need. This of course would benefit the female customer-base but also every fintech company as by delivering better-suited products, at the point of need, businesses are going to see sales grow.
Interestingly, there are many studies that show having a more diverse team, translates into better decisions being made. This is because wider perspectives are considered making the process much more inclusive and user-friendly.
Women bring financial reward
Overall, organisations where there are more women in leadership positions tend to reap more financial rewards because of the variety in skills and ideas they contribute. This enables a company to achieve higher performance rates and can be crucial to effective risk management.
A McKinsey report from 2018, Delivering through Diversity outlines this connection: “This report reaffirms the global relevance of the link between diversity—defined as a greater proportion of women and a more mixed ethnic and cultural composition in the leadership of large companies—and company financial outperformance.”
Making finance more accessible
Women may feel that gaining a financial education or utilising investments isn’t for them, either due to disinterest or because they have been taught to think this way from a young age. By involving more women in the design of a fintech product or service, a whole new demographic can be marketed to in an inviting and engaging way.
I believe the first step is to bridge this gender gap among the fintech workforce. To truly achieve a level of equality within the fintech industries, we do need to see more female founders.
Having more women in leadership positions can have a great ripple effect in an industry. It’s been documented that female founders tend to foster an atmosphere that in turn attracts more female candidates, and essentially become an inspiration to other women considering a career within Fintech.
Unfortunately, there are barriers that restrict this growth, and the lack of female founders within fintech can be attributed to several factors, including:
Even though we are living in modern times, sadly, gender bias does exist. Especially within more male dominated industries like fintech.
This is of course can make it extremely difficult for women to be successful founders. This discrimination often presents itself in many forms, including unconscious bias when it comes to hiring and promotions, and a lack of female mentors and senior leaders to pave the way.
Female founders are faced with many more financial barriers than their male counterparts, often finding it difficult to access funding. This of course means there are far less women-led startup companies than men. This can have devastating effects on an industry, and certainly doesn’t benefit the end customer in any way.
As there aren’t enough women in fintech, they are a completely underrepresented group and therefore face limitations in terms of networks and opportunities, which are necessary ingredients to achieve success as a founder. This lack of representation impacts a woman’s ability to attract the right talent and customers for the business.
A brighter future for women in fintech
The good news is, that there has been an increase in the number of women opting to work in fintech, and, importantly the number of female founders within the industry. Natwest’s CEO Alison Rose wrote a recent report on female entrepreneurship. It sheds a positive light on this and how the UK economy would benefit tremendously by having more women entrepreneurs.
Aviva, the insurance company, recently invested $10million into a Venture Capital fund, created to back female-run financial companies. The tide is changing, and I do believe we will start to see more and more women join fintech. Especially as it is a dynamic, fast-paced and interesting sector to work in – we have much to offer.
I believe that increasing the number of women in fintech isn’t just a matter of making the numbers more even, it’s actually good business sense that will then create profitability. I champion the women in my organisation and really feel we wouldn’t be where we are as a company now, without our female colleagues.
For all the lessons we are now learning in fintech, one of the most important should be that successful companies are the ones that are built on a foundation of fairness, with a diverse team that champions inclusion.
It’s been found that female founders tend to create an atmosphere that attracts more female candidates, and essentially becomes an inspiration to other women considering a career within fintech.