While technology and business models are changing fast, the issue of gender diversity in financial services – particularly at senior leadership levels – is still lagging behind. A Financial News analysis of Dow Jones Venture Source and Factiva data reveals that, of the 20 European FinTech companies that received the largest venture capital investments in 2014, none had a female chief executive.
A couple of months ago (Nov 26, 2014), I got a DM tweet from @sammaule saying “Been asked to put together a list of top 100 women in FinTech globally for conference in March. Looking for your input.”. I reached out to Sam and suggested we’d make this a major design theme for Innotribe Sibos 2015, and produce a joint whitepaper on Powerwomen in FinTech.
It was the start of a fantastic collaboration with Sam and Christine Duhaime @cduhaime from Digital Finance Institute in Canada, culminating in the release of the paper on June 3, 2015 during at Digital Finance 2015, the first Canadian FinTech conference, in Vancouver.
We did not want it to be yet-another-list. We did not want it to be another girl-geek-power list. What we wanted was a list of women who make a difference in financial services. Whether they were having C-level roles in their organizations or were change agents deep in the fabric of their institutions. Whether they came from big or smaller financial institutions, startups, investors, or VCs. We had the ambition to have a worldwide list.
We compiled all existing lists. Did crowdsourcing via twitter and other social media. We had a good list, but found it a bit light for regions such as South America, Africa, and Asia. We reached out to our contacts in those regions, and got additional suggestions.
We ended up with a list of 437 Powerwomen in Fintech, and could have kept going.
The paper draws upon existing research to highlight the reality of today’s situation in FinTech, and it provides recommendations to achieve and accelerate greater gender balance within the industry. A selection of interviews and profiles sit alongside the index, highlighting and celebrating the success stories of just some of the inspiring women who are leading the way and serving as role models to others.
End August we will do an update, and have some more in-depth interviews with 25 Powerwomen from the list.
The paper serves as an eye-opener on the gender diversity gap, in advance of the debate that will continue at Sibos in Singapore, from 12-15 October. Diversity will be one of the main topics covered by the Innotribe@Sibos 2015 programme. A number of the inspirational leaders featured in the Power Women in FinTech index will be involved in Innotribe sessions to discuss the findings of the paper, and make sure the voice of women is heard.
The paper can be downloaded and is a compelling read for anyone involved in the financial industry and beyond.