Investing in tomorrow’s leaders: empowering women in fintech

Hannah Green March 7th 2024 - 5 minute read

International Women’s Day is an annual event celebrated globally on March 8th to recognise the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. In 2024, the theme of the day is ‘invest in women’. The focus is on encouraging individuals and communities to understand the importance of the inclusion of women and to work towards creating a more equitable world. The goal is to raise awareness about the challenges faced by women and to inspire actions that promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Although International Women’s Day is dedicated to exploring all issues related to women, it is essential to understand how gender inequality impacts the financial sector. At Currencies Direct, we are committed to promoting diversity and inclusivity in all forms and investing in women in the fintech sector. We firmly believe that women have a vital role to play in shaping the future of fintech, and we are dedicated to providing them with the support and resources they need to succeed. As the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon stated “Achieving gender equality requires the engagement of women and men, girls and boys. It is everyone’s responsibility.”

The statistics speak for themselves, research conducted in a WiFS report shows that women in finance are 20-30% more likely to leave their jobs compared to other industries, particularly those in managerial and executive positions. UK government research highlights gender disparity in leadership roles, revealing that women make up only 14% of the big decision-making positions in the financial services sector. When looking at the workforce disparities from an employee development perspective, a BCG study found that 17% of women finance professionals feel that their direct manager doesn’t help them to develop their full potential, versus only 11% of men finance professionals.

Recognising the importance of role models

A recent study by BCG found that visible role models play a crucial role in motivating and inspiring women to aim for more senior positions in their careers. The study reveals that many women would feel disheartened if they do not see a significant number of their peers in top positions, which could affect their career aspirations and progress. Therefore, having more visible role models, especially women, can help bridge the gender gap in leadership positions and contribute to a more diverse and inclusive workplace culture.

As part of our ongoing mission to champion women in the fintech sector and provide an inclusive workplace, we asked numerous women in the business for their personal experiences and advice they would give to those getting started with their careers.

Pia Hauch – Chief of People & Vice President New Business

“One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was from my former CEO – “What got you to where you are today isn’t going to be what will get you where you need or want to be tomorrow.” Generally speaking, women deal with greater amounts of imposter syndrome than men so sometimes we need a little extra nudge to realise our potential > raw experience. As women, we have to pay it forward. We have to be each other’s biggest cheerleaders and remove blockers that we may have experienced in the past. Success is not a zero-sum game and I don’t think enough of us act like that in professional environments. Find women and men in your life that will help you leverage your potential and help give you opportunities to sit at the table.”

Katie Keith – Head of B2B Partnerships

“Inspiring inclusion isn’t just a goal; it’s a commitment to fostering a workplace where every individual, regardless of gender, feels empowered to embrace their unique journey. In my career, I’ve learned the power of staying true to myself and overcoming imposter syndrome. As a woman in a male-dominated industry, I’ve faced misconceptions, but I’ve found strength in authenticity. My advice? Don’t compete, collaborate. Focus on breaking barriers, not limitations. And always remember, in the tapestry of diversity, kindness and empathy are the threads that weave lasting success and inspire true inclusion.”

Leeann Nash – Head of B2B Sales

“I would say to stay true to yourself, recognise the dangers of imposter syndrome as this is arguably more prevalent in women and don’t feel compelled to compete with male counterparts or anyone: don’t follow, instead go where there is no path and leave a trail. But most importantly, be kind as people will forget what you said, what revenue you generated, what presentations you may have given or even what companies you build, but they will always remember how you made them feel – Being empathetic doesn’t mean you are weak, compassion and strength go hand in hand.”

Erica House – Senior Enterprise Sales Manager

“I’m proud to be part of the Enterprise team at Currencies Direct, where inclusion and empowerment aren’t just slogans but everyday practices. Whether it’s International Women’s Day or any other day, support the voices of all women and that way we create a happy workplace where every woman can shine.”

Beth Starreveld – Senior Project Manager

“My old boss/mentor gave me a book that once said, “she believed, so she could”. If there’s any advice I could give it would be to trust yourself, know that you know your stuff and that’s what will shine through. Everything is about mindset, if you tell yourself you’re not good enough, your brain is literally wired to find a way to validate that thought, so just think how powerful you’ll be if you feed yourself positivity and assurance that you can do it!”

Cultivating inclusive environments

As we reflect on the experiences and perspectives shared by women in fintech, we are reminded of the importance of cultivating environments where every individual, regardless of gender, feels valued and empowered to contribute their unique talents. By amplifying the voices of women and championing their stories, we not only recognise their achievements but also inspire others to advocate for inclusion and equality.

However, it should be noted that this is just the first step towards achieving gender parity. To truly achieve this goal, we need to work towards restructuring the industry from within and a crucial aspect of this restructuring involves investing in women. This investment encompasses dismantling existing barriers and biases that hinder their progression. It involves implementing mentorship programs, fostering a culture of inclusion, and actively promoting women into leadership positions. While progress has been made in recent years, there is still much more work to be done in order to create a truly equitable and inclusive society where women have equal opportunities to thrive, lead, and contribute to the growth of the fintech sector.

International Women’s Day serves as a powerful reminder of the ongoing challenges faced by women across the globe, including those in the fintech industry. The stories and advice shared by women at Currencies Direct highlight the need for mentorship, breaking down gender stereotypes, and creating a supportive workplace culture. To achieve genuine gender parity, it is imperative that we not only celebrate the accomplishments of women but also actively work towards dismantling systemic barriers. The collective responsibility lies with individuals, organisations, and policymakers to pave the way for a future where women thrive and contribute to a more equitable and inclusive society.

Written by
Hannah Green

Select a topic: