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International Women's Day is a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women around the world. It's a time to reflect on the progress that has been made toward gender equality, while also acknowledging the work that still needs to be done to create a more just and equitable world for all. After last year's #BreakTheBias theme, this year, the theme of International Women's Day is "Embracing Equity," a call to action for individuals, organizations, and governments to work together to promote gender equality and ensure that all women have the opportunity to thrive.
One area where the need for equity is particularly acute is in the fintech and tech industries, where women are significantly underrepresented.
Despite the fact that women make up half of the global population, they make up only around 25% of the tech workforce and a mere 12% of the fintech workforce.
This underrepresentation has far-reaching consequences, from perpetuating gender-based pay gaps to limiting the perspectives and experiences that are brought to bear on the development of new products and services.
So why is it that women are underrepresented in these fields? There are a number of factors that contribute to this disparity, ranging from cultural biases and stereotypes to systemic barriers in education and hiring. For example, studies have shown that women are less likely to pursue careers in tech or fintech due to cultural stereotypes that associate these fields with masculinity and discourage girls from pursuing them.
Additionally, women face significant barriers in accessing education and training in these fields, from a lack of resources and funding to biased hiring practices that favor male candidates.
Despite these challenges, there are many women who are thriving in the fintech and tech industries, paving the way for future generations of women to succeed. These women are not only breaking down barriers and overcoming obstacles, but they are also driving innovation and pushing for change within their organizations and the industry as a whole. By showcasing their stories and highlighting their successes, we can inspire other women to pursue careers in tech and fintech, and work towards a more equitable and inclusive industry.
At Chaser, we believe that embracing equity is not only the right thing to do, but it's also essential for building a stronger and more resilient business. We recognize the value that diverse perspectives and experiences bring to the table, and we are committed to creating a workplace culture that promotes equity and inclusion for all. That's why we are proud to support International Women's Day and to take part in this global conversation about the importance of embracing equity.
In the rest of this blog post, we will be highlighting the stories of women and men in the fintech and tech industries who are making a difference and driving change. We will be exploring the challenges they have faced, the successes they have achieved, and the lessons they have learned along the way. We hope that these stories will inspire and empower other women to pursue their dreams and to work towards a more equitable and inclusive world.
One of the biggest misconceptions about gender equity is that it's about giving women an unfair advantage over men. This couldn't be further from the truth. Gender equity is about creating a level playing field where everyone has the same opportunities to succeed, regardless of their gender. It's about breaking down barriers and eliminating biases that have historically held women back from achieving their full potential.
Dispelling this misconception requires a shift in mindset. Rather than viewing gender equity as a zero-sum game where one group wins and another loses, we need to recognize that everyone benefits from a more equitable workplace. When women are able to thrive and succeed, it not only benefits them individually, but it also benefits their organizations and society as a whole.
Over the next year I would like to see more ethnic diversity in the fintech sector, in particular more Black people working in fintech. Although ethnic diversity in fintech has increased steadily since 2011, the proportion of Black people working in fintech has remained stagnant at 3.1%. Whilst effort needs to be made for more women in general to join and grow in fintech businesses, space needs to be made for Black women, in particular, to be represented and to thrive in these industries.
Secondly, I would like to see more female founders in fintech. Currently, only 12% of founders in the fintech industry are female. I would like to see more initiatives to encourage female founders. Lastly, I would like to see more female figureheads and role models in the crypto and blockchain industries
With only 30% of the Fintech workforce being female (according to Deloitte), it is clear that may areas are affected and struggling to hire women. From my experience, I would suggest that the key areas would be engineering teams, leadership positions and also sales roles. However, I don’t feel that this is unique to the Fintech/Insurtech industries.
I believe that the current workforce has a responsibility to become great role models for the future generations. We have a responsibility to challenge the norm and show future generations of women that there are no boundaries or limitations. If you are interested in learning to code, take an online course. If you are interested in becoming a senior leader, get a mentor / work on a Personal Development Plan. If you are interested in moving in to sales, take the leap. By doing these, we are not only fulfilling our own dream, we are also increasing the opportunities for the younger generations, its win-win.
We also have a responsibility to empower girls from a young age. GIve them opportunities to learn the technical skills, leadership skills and confidence to excel in their chosen path (whatever that may be). The final point is via education and in encouraging young girls to participate in STEM subjects.
If you're a woman interested in working in fintech, my strongest recommendation is to be brave and just go for it. Don't be discouraged by the fact that this field is male-dominated. Everyone who is working in the industry now was inexperienced at some point. So, don't let a lack of experience hold you back from exploring this exciting industry. The only way to know if fintech is right for you is to try it out. And even if you find out it's not your thing, you'll still have gained valuable experience and insight. So, take that leap of faith and see where it takes you. Remember, bravery is the key to success!
As a female CEO of a tech company, I am dedicated to embracing equity in the workplace. Three areas that I focus on are 1. The impact of technology and automation on women’s future in the workplace, 2. Ways in which tech companies can help women achieve equity and 3. Tackling common misconceptions about equity.
I am acutely aware of the impact that artificial intelligence and technology automation will have on the future of women in the workplace. While these advancements offer great opportunities for innovation and efficiency, they also pose significant challenges for women.
One of the most important ways that artificial intelligence and technology automation will impact women in the workplace is by changing the nature of work itself. Automating many jobs that had traditionally been held by women in the past, such as administrative and clerical work, is becoming more prevalent. This means that women may need to adapt their skill sets and seek out new career paths in order to remain relevant in a rapidly changing job market.
At the same time, however, technology automation is also creating new opportunities for women in fields such as data science and machine learning. As these fields continue to grow and evolve, women will have the chance to play a leading role in shaping the future of technology and artificial intelligence.
One of the biggest challenges that women will face as technology automation becomes more prevalent is the potential for job displacement. As machines and algorithms become more capable of performing tasks that were once the sole domain of humans, it is likely that many women will find themselves out of work or struggling to find new positions that match their skills and experience.
To address this challenge, it will be essential for women to develop new skills and expertise that are highly valued in the age of automation. This might involve pursuing advanced degrees in fields such as engineering, computer science, or data analytics, or seeking out opportunities for professional development and training in emerging technologies.
Another important consideration for women in the age of artificial intelligence and technology automation is the need for greater representation and diversity in the tech industry. Women and other underrepresented groups have historically been marginalized in the tech industry, and this has led to a lack of diversity and perspective in the development of new technologies and algorithms.
To address this problem, it will be essential for women to become more involved in the tech industry and to advocate for greater diversity and inclusion in all aspects of technology development and implementation. By working together to ensure that the benefits of technology automation are shared by all members of society, we can create a more equitable and just future for women in the workplace and beyond.
Artificial intelligence and technology automation have the potential to both disrupt and transform the workplace, and it is essential for women to be prepared for these changes. By developing new skills and expertise, advocating for greater representation and diversity in the tech industry, and working together to ensure that the benefits of automation are shared by all members of society, we can create a future in which women are empowered to thrive and succeed in the age of technology.
Nevertheless, there are several steps that companies in these fields can take to attract and retain more women in the field:
Attracting and retaining more women in the tech and fintech industries requires a comprehensive approach that includes offering flexible work arrangements, providing mentorship and sponsorship programs, focusing on diversity and inclusion, addressing the gender pay gap, encouraging participation in industry events and organizations, and offering professional development opportunities. By taking these steps, companies can create a more equitable and diverse workplace that benefits everyone.
There are still many misconceptions that persist about this topic. Here are some of the biggest misconceptions about gender equity in the workplace and how we can work to dispel them:
This misconception assumes that women are not interested in advancing their careers, which is not true. Women are just as ambitious as men, but they may face more barriers to career advancement, such as discrimination and unconscious bias. Sometimes, a lack of female representation in senior roles can make some women feel their goals are unattainable. Companies can work to dispel this misconception by promoting women into leadership roles and showcasing their achievements. As it stands now, at Chaser, four out of 6 leadership team members are female.
This misconception assumes that women are less skilled or less capable than men, which is not true. Women are just as qualified as men, but they may face more obstacles in accessing education and training. Companies can work to dispel this misconception by providing equal opportunities for education and training. Companies can also focus on recruiting and hiring a diverse pool of candidates and eliminating bias from the hiring process.
This misconception assumes that women are more likely to prioritize their personal lives over their careers, which is not true. Women are just as committed to their jobs as men, but they may face more challenges in balancing work and personal responsibilities. Companies can work to dispel this misconception by offering flexible work arrangements, such as remote work and flexible hours, which can help employees balance their work and personal responsibilities. Companies can also provide support for caregiving responsibilities, such as on-site childcare.
This misconception assumes that gender equity is not important for business success, which is not true. Gender equity is essential for attracting and retaining top talent, promoting innovation and creativity, and improving business performance. Companies can work to dispel this misconception by highlighting the business benefits of gender equity, such as increased productivity, improved decision-making, and better financial performance. Companies can also set diversity and inclusion targets and measure progress towards achieving them.
Companies can work to dispel these misconceptions by promoting women into leadership roles, providing equal opportunities for education and training, offering flexible work arrangements, highlighting the business benefits of gender equity, and setting diversity and inclusion targets. By doing so, companies can create a more equitable and inclusive workplace that benefits everyone.
In the last three years of being CEO at Chaser, I’ve also asked myself if employees would have preferred a male CEO and if they would trust a male CEO more.
There is no definitive answer to this question as employee preferences can vary depending on a wide range of factors such as industry, culture, and individual preferences. However, research suggests that there may be some gender bias in the workplace, which could affect how employees view male and female CEOs.
For example, a study published in the Journal of Business and Psychology found that both male and female employees tend to hold more favourable attitudes toward male leaders than female leaders. This bias was more pronounced among male employees, but it was also present among female employees.
Another study published in the Harvard Business Review found that male and female employees tend to have different expectations of their leaders. Male employees were found to expect their male leaders to be assertive and competitive, while female employees expected female leaders to be more nurturing and collaborative.
It's important to note that these studies represent a limited sample of employees and industries, and individual preferences and biases can vary greatly. Ultimately, the effectiveness of a CEO should be judged on their skills, experience, and leadership qualities, rather than their gender.
Overcoming gender bias as a female CEO can be challenging, but there are several strategies that can help:
Ultimately, it's important to remember that overcoming gender bias is an ongoing process that requires ongoing effort and commitment. By taking these steps, female CEOs can help to create a more inclusive and equitable workplace for everyone.
I think the biggest misconception about gender equity in the workplace, is that women are more likely to prioritise their family over their career, and that this should result in gender-based pay penalisation.
I come from a family where my mother was my family's primary earner and my father mostly took care of my early childcare. I think the reality is, both men and women can (and do) have responsibilities to their family and their career. We can dispel this misconception by simply not assuming a person's priorities and goals in life based solely on their gender. Another potential solution with this aim in mind is to normalise equal maternity and paternity leave for men and women.
Educate ourselves and others. One of the biggest barriers to achieving equity is lack of understanding. We need to educate ourselves and others about the ways in which systemic inequalities have affected different groups throughout history and continue to do so today. This means acknowledging the ways in which racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination operate in our society and actively working to dismantle them.
Listen to marginalized voices. It's important to listen to and amplify the voices of people who have been historically marginalized and excluded from positions of power. This means actively seeking out perspectives and experiences that are different from our own and making space for them to be heard. It also means acknowledging and challenging our own biases and assumptions.
Take action. Embracing equity requires more than just talking about it - we need to take action. This might mean supporting policies and initiatives that promote equity, advocating for change within our workplaces and communities, and holding ourselves and others accountable for creating a more just and equitable society.
Recognize intersectionality. Finally, we need to recognize the ways in which different forms of oppression intersect and compound each other. For example, a Black woman might face discrimination based on both her race and gender. Recognizing intersectionality means acknowledging the complexity of people's identities and experiences and working to address all of the ways in which they are marginalized.
Embracing equity is a complex and ongoing process, but one that is essential for creating a more just and equitable society. By educating ourselves, listening to marginalized voices, taking action, and recognizing intersectionality, we can begin to make progress toward a more equitable future.
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