I’m black and female, and entering a career in fintech. And yes, I have concerns.

by Chisom Ezeilo, Diversity and Inclusion Analyst at findexable

I am a black female who is enthusiastic about emerging technologies and how they can be used to solve basic human challenges in the financial sector. In essence, I am looking to become a thought leader within fintech. But upon entering the industry, I am made aware that I am disadvantaged because I am black and female. This directly implies that I have to work 10 times as hard to get noticed or to give myself an opportunity to be heard. Ideally, I am a hard worker so this doesn’t bother so much.

I am mostly concerned about the percentage of women founders who get funded by investors, the percentage of companies that focus on building products especially for women, and also those who struggle with getting employment in a male-dominated field. The Nordics Report showed that only 1% of women founders get funded by venture capitalists compared to the 88% that went to the all-male founder’s team and the 11% that went to mixed gendered teams.

Fintech has a bigger problem than it realizes when diversity and inclusion are being addressed.

Research by Crunchbase shows that statistically, only 7% of VC partners in the top 100 VC firms are women and this is a contributing factor to the challenge at hand. The industry no doubt needs to step up its game when engaging more women.

Mixed teams = better products = better results

Statistics show that diverse teams are still more productive and effective than its counterpart. Essentially this conversation must be had because now more than ever, organizations need a financial breakthrough and evident growth to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. If growth is paramount in 2021 and beyond, strategies to make it possible should also be addressed.

Fintech Diversity Radar 2021
Fintech Diversity Radar 2021
Chisom Ezeilo is a Member of the Fintech Diversity Radar Executive Project Team

1. Women as customers

In a lot of scenarios, men and women have been said to have different needs. This is because both genders are wired differently. The case is not different when it comes to the financial products they use. A myth that has become almost an anthem in fintech is the belief that all that is required to tackle the challenge head-on is ‘more feminized products’. But in actual terms, all that is required of fintechs is to begin to take a more gender- intelligent approach when building products.

Fintech Diversity Radar 2021
Fintech Diversity Radar 2021
The Fintech Diversity Radar launches in 2021. Get involved. Take part in our Survey here

2. Women in the team

The diversity problem faced by the fintech industry results in products not being built to meet the needs of women. Today, only 29% of the staff in fintech are women. In addition to this ridiculously small number, the ratio of women in leadership or critical design/decision-making roles is even smaller.

Fintech Diversity Radar 2021
Fintech Diversity Radar 2021
The Fintech Diversity Radar launches in 2021. Get involved. Take part in our Survey here

3. Women as founders

At the root of the diversity issue lies the scant figures of women at the top. This Nordics report tells us that, not only are there not enough female founders, but the few existing ones scarcely get funding to forge ahead in the entrepreneurial endeavour. One would expect that, if there aren’t sufficient female founders, then existing VCs should look at and challenge their own make-up.

Findexable exists to collect, assemble and sort the world’s fintech data