While The Fintech Times is passionate about highlighting amazing women in fintech 365 days of the year, the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day of #BreaktheBias is one worth encouraging. We’ve spoken to some fantastic women in the industry to get their thoughts on women in fintech and how we can break the bias in the industry.
To break bias we need to know it
Chi Eun Lee, EVP & chief of staff at Paysafe said: “To break the bias, we need to know it. We need to become more sensitive to not only the known, obvious biases, but also the subtle ones that we aren’t aware of, which limit women from reaching their full potential. I hope we get smarter about these hidden biases!”
“As an industry if we want to develop and retain female talent we need to get better at enabling a work-life balance which allows you to be a parent AND have a seat at the table,” said Rachel McShane, CFO, Digital Wallets.
“If the pandemic has taught us one thing about flexible working, it is that it can be more productive and by no means you are doing any less of the job, if anything you are doing more.”
Showcase the industry
Jackie Barwell, director, market-facing product management, proactive risk manager (PRM) – Payments Intelligence, ACI Worldwide said: “There are endless opportunities for women in fintech, and it’s time to eliminate the bias. Personally, I wasn’t looking to fintech for a career, I fell into it by accident. There’s little or no ‘noise’ out there that really 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.”
A proactive approach
Nabilah Hussain, head of FinCrime, 3S Money, said: “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 a 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!”
Female role models
Amanda Mickleburgh, director product merchant fraud, ACI Worldwide said: “Fintech is a great industry to work in, but how many individuals actually said at school this was the career they wanted when they grew up?”
“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.
“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.”
Full representation is needed
“This International Women’s Day is a reminder to celebrate and empower women,” said Maria Campbell, VP of people at Griffin. “Women deserve a seat at the table, and until gender equity is achieved we need this reminder. But “more women” is not the gateway to genuine diversity – it’s just one limited and often binary axis.
“We need to focus on full representation, both by demographics and perspective, across the board. Until leading businesses represent the rich makeup of society, we need to keep demanding and making change to get to a more equitable state. Technology continues to change life as we know it, as such, it’s crucial that decision-makers in the technology industry can understand and represent the vastly varied experiences, interests and needs of society.”
More to be done
Maxine Moon, founder of Imegamedia and director of merchant onboarding at Deko, comments: “All around the world, the tech sector is innovating rapidly. The future is full of endless possibilities, and women deserve an equal opportunity to seize them.
“The tech industry has made good progress in widening access to women. International Women’s Day is a chance to celebrate the outstanding achievements that we have seen from many of our peers. Every day, women in tech are paving the way for future generations to be part of a workplace that is more equal.
“However, there is still far more to be done. Women are still vastly underrepresented in senior roles, and funding is still predominantly going to male-led companies. The tech industry needs to do better at educating and supporting women from all backgrounds, nurturing their talent and celebrating their ideas.
“Diverse, inclusive teams provide a wide pool of creativity and expertise. In a sector like tech, this variety is invaluable. So, let us champion women and empower their voices in order to break the bias and enable continued innovation.”