This October at The Fintech Times is all about shining a spotlight on the incredible women working in the fintech industry, sharing their greatest achievements, their biggest challenges and how they can make a difference fostering women’s careers.
Though progress has been made to reduce the gender gap in fintech, the industry still has far to go until it hits true representation and champions full equality.
To help highlight the influential and significant contributions of women to the industry, we asked influential fintech leaders (who just so happen to be women) to share their thoughts on how the gender diversity in the industry has evolved since they first started their careers.
How has the industry evolved in your own experiences from when you first joined to now in terms of diversity and inclusion.
Focus on diversity
Neha Singh, VP of product strategy & innovation at Broadridge
“I think there is more awareness of gaps in gender diversity and more focused efforts are being made to address these gaps. For example, ensuring that there is a diverse slate of candidates for any new role. However, the majority of the industry leadership is male, and it will take time before focus on diverse hiring translates to more senior women leading these organisations. Another factor is sponsorship – executives tend to sponsor candidates who look like them – so more men at the top beget more men at the top, unless there are deliberate interventions. I think the focus on diversity is game changing, but there is definitely more work to be done.”
Role models for newcomers
Jodi Neiding, vice president, Americas banking portfolio at Diebold Nixdorf, said:
“Over the past decade, as one of the few female vice presidents in a global company, I often found myself as the only woman in meetings, but this has slowly evolved. While fintech has become more competitive, there’s a growing number of female leaders due to increased awareness of the value of inclusive leadership. Diverse viewpoints yield better ideation and solutions, benefiting companies and reflecting consumers’ needs. Customers appreciate and value our partnership because they know we build, design, and test solutions for all consumers through inclusive leadership.
“Fintech is no longer just a “men’s” club, and through hard work, determination, and significant accomplishments, women are gaining recognition and career advancement opportunities. This increased representation provides role models for newcomers, which will help to grow the number of females in the industry.”
Maya Sudhakaran, head of growth & acquisition at Plynk, a B2C fintech designed to help make investing easier for beginners, said:
“I started off my career at a big traditional bank, which had a strong emphasis on developing diverse talent, particularly for women in a male-dominated industry. I have seen significant strides in this arena with the development of social media, remote working, and the growth of digital experiences.
“Women now have an avenue to have their voices heard. In turn, companies are paying more attention. There is a long way to go, but we are seeing progress! The fintech industry is crowded from a product perspective, but diversity of voice is being respected more. Diverse voices are becoming a pivotal piece to the recruiting puzzle in this space.”
Kelli Hobbs, VP of business development at Valuedynamx, provider of curated data-driven omnichannel purchase rewards
“Over the past two decades, I’ve witnessed significant positive changes in the industry’s approach to diversity and inclusion. When I first joined, these topics weren’t as prominently addressed, but now they are integral components of many companies’ mission statements. It’s heartening to see that companies are not only acknowledging the importance of diversity and inclusion but are also actively investing in them, recognising that it’s essential for attracting the upcoming talent pool.
“In the loyalty sector, consumers have increasingly come to expect diversity and inclusion efforts from the brands they engage with. It has become a significant factor influencing consumer choices. Beyond the immediate impact on organisations, diversity and inclusion initiatives have far-reaching effects, extending to consumer buying decisions and, ultimately, having broader social and economic implications.
“One particularly encouraging development is the increasing number of women advancing into CEO and board roles within the industry. This progress represents a positive step toward greater inclusion and diversity. However, for the future of fintech, especially as we look to the younger generation, it’s crucial that we invest in programs aimed at supporting female product developers, engineers, and professionals in areas traditionally dominated by men.
“To ensure a truly diverse and inclusive fintech landscape, we need to create opportunities and provide resources for women to thrive in all aspects of the industry. This not only benefits individual careers but also strengthens the industry by tapping into a wider range of talents and perspectives.”
Valentina Drofa, co-founder & CEO at Drofa Comms, a global finance PR consulting agency, said:
“The financial sector still remains more of a male-dominated niche even after 16 years when I began my journey. The statistics say that women hold around 10 per cent of fintech board seats nowadays.
“Though the diversity is not as profound as it was years ago, the situation is about to change. Besides the data, there is still an ethical bias against women who achieve extraordinary feats in the fintech world. While we can agree that women are important to any organisation, most are now beginning to venture out into becoming entrepreneurs. Speaking more broadly, about women in business, there are definitely more now. However, in finance, the number of women remains comparatively low, and I continue to observe this trend.”