IWD: How Mentorship Can Help Fix Fintech’s Gender Imbalance with Chargebacks911 | The Fintech Times

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While The Fintech Times is passionate about highlighting amazing women in fintech 365 days of the year, the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day of #BreaktheBias is one worth encouraging.

Having someone to guide you on the path to success is one of the greatest assets a budding female entrepreneur can have. Monica Eaton-Cardone, Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder at Chargebacks911, analyses the power of mentoring for women in fintech.

Monica Eaton-Cardone
Monica Eaton-Cardone, Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder at Chargebacks911

It should be clear to anyone who has been paying attention over the past two years that fintech is both the present and the future. Being able to go beyond the services available from a handful of legacy companies has meant that individuals and businesses have been able to not just stay afloat but thrive during a difficult economic climate, and the innovations being made in the industry today are likely to become a part of everyday life for millions of people.

If you want to make a difference in the world then tech and finance are two of the most important places to be, and fintech even more so. That’s why it was so disappointing to find from recent research from Findexable, that women represent 11% of fintech company board members, 19% of C-suite executives and only 6% of company founders. Even within that 19%, women tend to be filed into roles in HR and marketing – they are seven times more likely to be Head of People than CTO. Most of these figures hold across the world, but women are 2.5x more likely to be CEOs in the Middle East than in Europe, and twice as likely to be CTOs in Africa versus the rest of the world. Also of interest is that companies with women founders received only 2% of all Venture Capital funding in 2021 – whether this is an avenue substantially less pursued by women, or pursued but not awarded – remains to be analyzed.

Despite all that has been written and said about political correctness, the feminisation of work and the post-#MeToo workplace, it’s a verifiable fact that women are not achieving parity with men in fintech, and likely in many other industries. So with International Women’s Day further shining a late on trying to #BreakTheBias, rather than talking about the reasons for this I would like to point to one vital way that we can address this issue.

The Value of Mentorship

Although some C-suites are ‘boys clubs’ in which macho culture is the norm, the more troubling truth is that the majority of fintech boards are composed of men, some of whom might even call themselves feminists, who look at rooms with nine men and one woman and don’t see a problem. Yes, they will say, we would have a 50-50 gender split throughout our company, but women are not taking computer science or economics degrees and we have to hire qualified people first. Some have said this ‘pipeline problem’ has been known to be false for many years, but it is still the go-to reason for the lack of all forms of diversity at senior levels. 

The answer to unconscious bias is consciously raising each other up. Mentorship programmes are perhaps the most powerful way for women to address the imbalance in fintech – rather than imposing quotas, mentorship allows women at the start of their careers to overcome the specific obstacles to getting to where they want to be in their careers. 

It gives women access to role models and leaders which is vital for their development. It helps empower them and provides coaching for achieving higher roles and career progression. It also gives women the chance to practice their communication skills in a safe environment. Additionally, it can also add strong value to the mentors too – a rewarding experience of seeing other women they have helped achieve great things in the sector.

LIFT-ing up the next generation in Fintech

The LIFT programme matches women with founders and C-suite executives to solve a specific problem – navigating a difficult conversation like asking for a raise or transitioning to a new role. This solution-focused approach acknowledges that women in fintech often have the skills for more advanced roles but cultural problems at their companies often stand in their way. 

By teaming up with women at higher stages of their careers, younger women can find out how to bypass the obstacles to career progression from people who have already overcome them. Virtual meetings mean that mentors and mentees can meet from anywhere to come away with specific, actionable advice.

The major changes to the fintech industry that we need will not happen overnight, but there are initiatives like mentorship that are chipping away at the glass ceiling. Encouraging greater inclusion for women in the fintech industry is something that we can all play a key role in, and mentoring is one key way to offer support and opportunities to build networks.

Go to Publisher: The Fintech Times
Author: The Fintech Times