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Women in payments say gender discrimination still rife

Women in payments say gender discrimination still rife

More than three quarters of women in payments think that gender discrimination is still unacceptably high in the industry, with many saying that they have personally experienced bias based on their gender, according to a survey.

The Emerging Payments Association (EPA) surveyed 174 people in the industry, of which 78% were women. While 77.5% of female respondents say gender discrimination is unacceptably high, just 38% of men agree.

More than half of respondents say they have personally experienced gender discrimination. Among this group, there is a "strong sense that the bias has significantly, negatively impacted the pay, duties and advancement" of victims.

On the question of how bias manifests, 60% agree men have better opportunities, 55% think men prefer to hire other men, and just 16% think women receive preference in hiring and promotion because there are fewer of them.

About 20% agree that sexual harassment is common in the industry.

Respondents say that gender discrimination does not just have heavy direct costs for individuals but that there are also indirect costs. Those who feel they have been discriminated against have a significantly more negative attitude about both the current situation and the prospects for improving conditions in the future.

This can damage efforts to create diversity in the sector, something that is damaging because respondents believe that diversity leads to higher satisfaction, higher employee retention, easier recruiting, a better work environment, more innovation, and last but not least, higher overall profitability.

Many, but not a majority, feel that their current organisations talk about gender equity but do not take affirmative steps. In contrast, 59% feel their organisations could do more to provide
equal opportunities.

To help tackle some of the issues identified, the EPA has announced that it will be creating a ‘Diversity Charter’ as a way to encourage its members to commit to creating diverse senior leadership teams. By signing up, members will be able to publish key metrics and inform external and internal stakeholders of their commitment towards equality.

Anne Pieckielon, project lead, EPA’s Women in PayTech, says: “It’s clear that gender equity is not a women’s issue, it’s a problem that impacts everyone. This research highlights that the EPA, through its community and its partners, can and should play a major role in driving this change and enabling individuals and companies to do the right things at all levels.”

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