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An article relating to this blog post on Finextra:

Fintech's dirty little secret: Gender diversity

Fintech startups may be promising a bright new future for financial services, but they are not averse to a spot of old-school legacy thinking when it comes to board-level female representation.

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Trust me, it's not a secret

A female CEO, of a shit hot FinTech company, needs to change her name back to her maiden name because investor after VC routinely ignored her in favour of her co-founder (who also happens to be her husband). 

A young Oxford graduate, who founded a small FinTech startup with her friends emails to ask 'How can I be a women in Fintech - when I feel so alone?' 

A grandee of financial services sits on a stage speaking to a room full of female entrepreneurs and warns "Investors will ask you questions about your fertility"

Infographics and stories about startups are always represented by a young guy with a MacBook and a hoodie.

Conferences and events are filled with the same white male faces - without thought - but you have to make a conscious effort to get women in stage <==but no, keep telling yourself you only look for the *best* speakers (and the two women you called here "unavailable")

You sit in workshops and training sessions - in front of white boards and flip charts - as every man stands and starts talking and you silently curse yourself for picking up the marker and taking notes.

When you get told you are 'too emotional' by a co-worker whom you once saw almost punch a guy in a lift for making a bad joke. 

When you get told to 'speak up dear - I can't hear ladies' voices'

When the mic doesn't work and someone yells 'We can't hear you!' from the back of the room.

When you get asked to speak and you have to find a way to hide the *lapel* mic in your bra.

When you sit on stage at an event and get shown a 'bar stool' that all the men on stage can sit on with their feet on the ground - while you sit crunched and crotch level with the audience. 

When women fear speaking out, for fear they will be seen as asking for special privileges. 

When people imply that hiring more women goes against 'hiring the best people regardless of gender' <==as if hiring women lowers the fucking bar!

When you go home to cry (because at work would be suicide) with a glass of wine silently asking - why is this so hard? <==And the only advice you get is how to *fix* you. 

I spoke about this report with a friend over the weekend and the appalling percentages. He asked "What number do you want, then?"


I want fucking 95% - By any means necessary. 

The time for talk is over. It is time for action. The FemTech meetups are just the beginning. 



Comments: (2)

Ainsley Ward
Ainsley Ward - CGI - Glasgow 18 February, 2016, 13:291 like 1 like

I've spent the last few years to and fro from the US working on the EMV migration there. Conferences and working groups are a stark contrast to Europe where the male:female ratio is near 50:50. All of the card brands (MasterCard, Visa, Amex, Discover and debit schemes) have talented women in prominent and powerful roles, and as drivers behind the US EMV changeover. It made a HUGE positive difference to the conversations that we were having and stopped a lot of the 'pee-up-the-wall' nonsense that happens in male-dominated fora. 

For me the banking infrastructure in Europe is in crisis because it's become staid, stale and with too much pride in some quarters to admit that things need to change. We've become tech focused rather than idea focused. Worried about the competition rather than serving the customer. This isn't just a need to get more women involved, it's a need to fundamentally change the way that we do things - and delivering a better gender balance would be the easiest way to achieve this.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 22 February, 2016, 10:33Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Not just male but a monoculture of suited, booted rugby fans. As a (male) pasty-faced aesthete, I find the macho thing very tiresome and I'm proud and happy that my current chain of command is all female, from line manager to CEO

Elizabeth Lumley

Elizabeth Lumley

Global FinTech Commentator

Girl, Disrupted

Member since

05 Nov 2007



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