Why the Issue of Women in the FinTech Space is an Important One

By David Wither for Huffington Post

Financial technology, otherwise known as FinTech, is a growing industry. With the threat of hackers and the increasing globalization of the world, this is a thriving business. A lack of women is an issue among FinTechs, but WB21 is one company aiming to campaign for change.

The reason why it’s good to have a diverse leadership team is perspective. In the FinTech industry, you are dealing with customers from all walks of life and all backgrounds. You can’t expect an all-male team to speak for the women, which make up 50% of the population.  A woman on the team also gives everyone a unique perspective. They can help companies better understand the needs of their gender.

Although there is a visible increase of women in the financial and technological industries in leadership roles, women face other challenges that still do not demonstrate equality.  As more women run global organizations, they delay pregnancy to be on parallel ground as their male counterparts.

From speaking to a range of women in leadership roles within the FinTech space, WB21 has discovered there’s a strong consensus that there are still a lot of barriers to bridging the gender gap. Many women are suffering from the dreaded glass ceiling because both finance and technology are traditionally male-dominated fields, which means they are more likely to be subjected to not being supported if they want to start a family and even penalized if they decide to become a mom.

Even the current CEO of Yahoo, Marisa Mayer faced public scrutiny after a two week leave after the birth of her first child and planned unlimited leave after the arrival of twins three years later.

As more companies adapt to understand, support the needs of women, and implement plans to support motherhood such as Amazon, with their new parental leave policies, WB21 is dedicated to making long term changes with the introduction of their “No Ask Questions, Pregnancy Package”.

Some of the benefits of the package include:

·         An option for a new mother to stay at home to work if she wishes to work during her pregnancy leave.

·         An option for breast milk to be shipped if she wishes to travel (full compensation)

·         An allowance for 10 days off yearly for monumental moments in her child’s life *in addition to sick time and yearly vacation.

·         An allowance of 10 days prior to birth to attend doctor appointments *no questions asked policy.

·         Leave Share option for inclusion of partner who does not have a parental leave policy at their work place.

Abygail DeSousa, COO of WB21 says, “Women need to be honoured as they are the backbone of every economy.  They are the child bearers of our future global leaders and should be supported in their careers despite their choice to be a mother”.

WB21’s No Ask Pregnancy Package provides discretion and support to mothers without not including their partners.  Men also are opting to be more active in their children’s lives and may do so with the Leave Share option in which they too are supported.

And companies that don’t acknowledge that women can be just as good are leaving money on the table. Women are a large, untapped pool of talent. In the FinTech industry, where talent is often difficult to come by, this represents a major opportunity.

Merchant banking platform WB21 believes that in the next few years there will be so many more women taking on leadership roles. WB21 has already pledged to do this themselves. They are a growing company and they intend on hiring more women, while encouraging their peers in the field to do the same.

But this is also something that will not happen simply because someone is a woman. WB21 believes that women will be promoted based on merit, as opposed to trying to fulfilling a quota. This is the right way to go about it because it ensures that women are going to be respected in their positions.

What are your views on gender diversity in FinTech?

First appeared at Huffington Post