Women in Fintech & FS share their thoughts on IWD2024

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7th March, 2024 No Comments

International Women’s Day should be a day for celebration. But while the intention behind the day is a good one, we’re still a long way off an environment that genuinely supports women in the industry.

We’ve collated some of the thoughts and feelings of women at the coalface of fintech, for what’s going well, what can be improved, and how we might be able to get there.

Monika Liikamaa, co-CEO & co-founder of Enfuce, discusses the role that women in business must play to empower entrepreneurial young women:

“Women deserve more than an awareness day – women deserve a seat at the table. We need to empower entrepreneurial young women to speak out in the male-dominated business world, challenge the status quo, and chase their goals. If a female wants to start a company, gender shouldn’t hold her back. But this is the reality of the world we are living in and we need to change it.

As 50% of the solution, we need to lead by example and show it’s ok to want to achieve, it’s ok to work your ass off. And it’s never too late or too early to create something and be passionate about it. I hope in a couple of generations we get to a place where founders are simply ‘founders’ and are not described by their gender.”

Yasmina Siadatan, Chief Revenue Officer, Dynamic Planner reflects on this years theme of Inspiring Inclusion, and attracting more women into the industry:

“Women are making huge strides in the financial advice industry. They clearly love their jobs, with an overwhelming majority saying they would recommend their profession to others. This year’s theme #InspireInclusion for International Women’s Day should be looked at through every lens, be it attracting more women into the industry or ensuring that what we as an industry deliver in terms of product, brand and communications resonates with female investors.

“The industry has moved on significantly from where it once was. Building a more inclusive financial planning industry will have more positive outcomes for everyone – female advice professionals and female clients alike.”

Karine Martinez, Head of Sales at Edenred Payment Solutions, shares how she thinks the industry can better support women all year round:

“Tech, and fintech companies especially, have placed a huge amount of time and effort on improving the talent pipeline for women in the early stages of their careers. This is great to see, but in the long working lifecycle, we need to ensure those later stages, where women are more senior and retention is much harder, aren’t forgotten.

As someone who moved into tech from a more traditional finance role, and before then took a career break to raise a family, women’s careers are not linear. Tech companies who are championing innovation on all fronts have a great opportunity to respond to this, and create a working environment that responds to different demands.”

I’d love to see more structure around people making career changes into tech, stronger support for women taking maternity leave and crucially, returning to work with new responsibilities. These are the basics, and an industry like tech which is entirely built on doing things new and differently, shouldn’t struggle to do this for the women in their ranks.

Cassie Petrie, Managing Director SMB EMEA, SAP Concur:

“Inspiring inclusion starts with practising authentic leadership and radical candour to inspire diverse thinking – we need to create a space where we can give direct feedback while showing that we care about the person receiving it.”

 “As leaders, this starts with remaining true to yourself, nurturing talent within your team, and fostering a culture of growth. Investing in yourself as a leader and your team needs to be a priority, especially in an increasingly challenging climate.”

Andrea Webb, Head of People at RTGS.global shares her experiences working within an industry that has been, and largely still is, dominated by men:

Inspiring inclusion in tech isn’t just about tackling big, long-term projects—it’s also about the little things we do every day. Consider ways that you can help each other out and give your colleagues a boost. Share advice, start conversations that help spread useful information, and have a genuine desire for each other to succeed.

If someone makes a really good point in a meeting, acknowledge it, amplify it, and play your part in generating a positive environment.”

It has to be about more than just about work, work, work. Try to find suitable opportunities to instigate conversations that go beyond the office (or working from home) walls. Showing a genuine interest in your colleagues’ lives outside of work helps to build stronger personal connections and makes them feel supported. Do they have any pets? A favourite sports’ team? Or other hobby?

These broader conversations also help to unlock fresh perspectives and breed new ideas. Whilst individual viewpoints are important, and they matter, they are limited and shaped by personal experiences. By tapping into the views and ideas of others beyond your usual, or immediate network, you open your world to much wider perspectives which can be game changing when problem solving or generating new strategies.” 

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