As the FinTech industry keeps on evolving and breaking new grounds, it also promotes many aspects of diversity and inclusion across its increasing presence around the world. One of those aspects is gender equality in the workforce, and industry insights have revealed that women holding senior positions in FinTech firms has resulted in those companies overcoming their competition in terms of innovation, creativity and overall performance. This result builds a strong foundation for making the case that women enhance work environments for the benefit of everyone involved, and ultimately the economy. Although their impact is clear, many women are still struggling to enter the FinTech entrepreneurship scene today due to certain entry barriers.
Perhaps the most prevalent entry barrier for women is finding the right balance between caring for their children and family and focusing on work, a significant challenge in almost every household that needs extra effort to overcome. Another barrier of entry for women in the startup world is getting access to proper funding, as insights reveal businesses led by women are typically underfunded when compared to male-led initiatives; a notion that must change if the industry is seeking to achieve gender parity.
Women also usually have less access to industry-related professional networks and relations than men, seeing as they typically have less time on their hands to maximize their exposure and establish solid business relationships. Finally, in a mostly male-dominated world, 1 in 6 women lack the self-esteem to initiate something of their own due to their belief that they lack the needed skills and knowledge to succeed on their own; a notion that has proven to be false on many occasions.
So how can women overcome these obstacles today?
The answer is not a simple one, and it needs a comprehensive approach in order to address these barriers simultaneously. The first level of eliminating these challenges is through education. Young girls and women need to find encouragement and the proper resources to take part in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) at university in general, and FinTech in particular. FinTech bootcamps dedicated to girls is a great starting point during school, in addition to development programmes in workplaces so that they are kept interested in the field throughout different stages of their lives. This does not exclude men; on the contrary, they also play a vital role in encouraging female representation in FinTech and should be educated as such on this issue, which in turn will allow men to see just how difficult it is for women to break these barriers and join the FinTech industry. Their role as allies and supporters of workplace diversity and inclusion greatly enhances women’s chances of not being perceived as having less potential than their male counterparts, and that leads to women having their voice heard and their impact felt across a seemingly unstoppable FinTech industry.
Lobbying for women’s participation in the workforce has also proved efficient before, whether by governments or organizations, as it raises awareness on the importance of gender diversity in work environments. Different initiatives that aim to invest in women’s potential have shown their impact and have driven change over the last few years, and the continuous lobbying by men for women’s inclusion in FinTech and beyond will certainly amplify their voices and contribute to better gender equality in various industries.
Although women are still largely underrepresented in FinTech, the ones that have achieved success and have overcome these barriers should have support and encouragement in sharing their success stories with as large an audience as possible, with the objective of amplifying their voices and reaching those women that just need that small push to follow their passion for FinTech. Broadcasting their success will definitely help other women to push their boundaries and challenge the status quo of FinTech being a male-led sector, ultimately establishing gender diversity and solidifying women’s roles in FinTech.
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