As technology continues to disrupt the financial services industry, women in fintech have an opportunity to reshape the industry from within
Women in fintech-Fintech has made a name for itself as an innovative sector challenging the status quo, and breathing new life into finance – and part of that shake-up means creating better opportunities for women to make an impact in a historically male-dominated workplace.
New companies, technologies and ways of looking at how financial services can be delivered are all contributing to a different kind of culture across the industry – and with it, fresh opportunities for women to shine.
Ghela Boskovich is a leading advocate of bridging the gender gap in financial services, and founded the FemTechGlobal community to promote and support diversity in fintech – she also sat on the judging panel for Innovate Finance’s latest Women in FinTech Powerlist.
Commenting on the state of play for women working in financial technology, she said: “Fintech is like any other industry when it comes to gender equality and balance – it has a long, long way to go to reach parity.
“Women represent only 30% of the fintech workforce, 12% of fintech founders are women, and women founders receive just 2% of venture capital.
“But irrespective of the imbalance, there is a fiercely active, tightly knit community of women working to change fintech for the better – from those actively building tech solutions, to those working inside financial institutions to drive innovation and change, or those designing products that better tap into an underserved market and drive financial inclusion.
“Considering women make 80% of all household financial decisions, have a better savings rate than their male counterparts, and will control 70% of the world’s discretionary income by 2020, including them in the design and delivery of financial services makes economic sense.
“We are seeing signs that the industry is embracing not just the contribution of women in fintech, but their potent economic power, too.
“The statistics, and a flawed system, are discouraging – but the women, and the opportunities they create, are inspiring.”
From entrepreneurs to engineers, and everything in between, female business talent is exerting a growing influence over the world of fintech.
Ahead of International Women’s Day tomorrow (8 March), we take a look at some of those women leading by example.
Influential women in fintech
Finance industry veteran Anne Boden needs little introduction as a leading figure in the UK fintech scene, having founded Starling Bank from scratch in 2014, and developed it into one of the most prominent challenger banksleading the charge in open banking disruption.
Overseeing Starling’s rise to prominence in her role as CEO, Ms Boden and her team have created personal and business mobile current accounts that have so far attracted half a million people to give digital-only banking a try– and aim to double that by the end of the year.
Last year, she was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s honours list in recognition of her services to fintech, and she has established herself as a voice of authority when it comes to banking innovation.
Hailing from Wales, Ms Boden had a science and technology education before embarking on a 30-year finance career that included senior jobs at the likes of UBS, Royal Bank of Scotland and Allied Irish Banks.
Director of growth and communications at OakNorth, a UK-based lending business for SMEs, Valentina Kristensen has played a prominent role in developing the company into Europe’s most highly-valued fintech.
OakNorth recently secured a huge $440m (£332m) investment, which it plans to use to fund its expansion into the US market.
Ms Kristensen is a familiar face on the London fintech circuit, appearing regularly as a speaker at industry events and as a guest on the popular Fintech Insider podcast.
She is a leading voice in promoting female inclusion across the financial services industry, and uses her position as a steering committee member of FinTECHTalents – a UK fintech festival – to address issues of bringing women into the industry and closing the gender pay gap.
Eva Wong is the co-founder and COO of Borrowell – a Toronto-based fintech providing credit-scoring services to the Canadian market.
Borrowell was the first Canadian company to offer free credit checks to its customers, and has to-date provided the service to more than 850,000 people.
The company also has a commitment to achieving gender balance and cultural diversity internally – with 47% of its staff being women, and 37% born outside of Canada.
A frequent speaker at international fintech events, Ms Wong has also worked and studied around the world in the US, Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Europe.