Luna Besaiso

Head of Member Relations

On March 8th, International Women’s Day offers a poignant reminder of the significant strides made in honoring women’s achievements, identifying gender disparities, and advocating for a more inclusive and fair society. This advocacy holds particular significance within the finance and fintech sectors, where, despite progress, the representation of women, especially in leadership roles, remains insufficient. This is particularly relevant in the finance and fintech sectors, where despite advancements, women’s representation lags, especially in senior roles. Statistics Canada reports that, on average, women earn 89 cents for every dollar earned by men. In the year 2024, this is a glaring issue. 

The imperative to amplify women’s roles in finance and fintech is clear. Women offer distinct insights and competencies, contributing to improved decision-making and performance. Studies, including one from the University of Cambridge, have highlighted women’s superior abilities in empathy and emotional intelligence, facilitating enhanced communication and outcomes in professional settings. Beyond the University of Cambridge’s findings, additional studies corroborate these advantages. For example, a report by McKinsey & Company highlights that companies with gender-diverse executive teams are 25% more likely to experience above-average profitability, underscoring the tangible benefits of women’s leadership in corporate settings. 

However, in a holistic report titled, “Changing Lending for Good” released by the Canadian Lenders Association in 2023, it was shown that the financial industry still requires more representation when it comes to women and those who identify as women. Whereas entry and lower-level positions see higher participation with women, the number starts to decrease the more senior the position. Further, intersectional identities also need to be considered as women from racialized backgrounds, those living with disabilities, or members of the LGBTQ2S+ community face compound barriers for career progression. To increase representation, provide career progression pathways and opportunities, conduct stay interviews, measure and monitor retention data, and offer remote work and flexibility options.

Addressing the finance industry’s historical issues with bias and exclusion is crucial. Elevating women and other marginalized groups can forge a more just and inclusive financial landscape.

Empowerment Strategies for Women in Finance and Fintech:

The path to empowering women in finance and fintech encompasses a range of strategies aimed at addressing the multi-faceted challenges they face:

  • Mentorship and Healthy Work Environments: Providing women with access to experienced mentors and a healthy work environment is invaluable. Professional settings should serve as supportive environments that foster opportunities for hierarchical growth.
  • Networking and Community Building: Establishing and participating in networks and communities offer women in finance and fintech spaces for connection, and opportunity discovery. These networks, whether through industry associations, conferences, or digital platforms, serve as vital resources for women seeking to expand their professional horizons and build their reputations.
  • Customized Education and Training: Addressing the unique challenges women face requires targeted educational and training programs. Offering courses and workshops on negotiation, risk management, and financial analysis can empower women with the skills and confidence needed to excel in their fields. These programs not only equip women with necessary competencies but also prepare them to navigate and overcome industry-specific hurdles.
  • Visibility and Recognition: Elevating the visibility of women’s achievements through awards, media coverage, and speaking engagements is critical for fostering a more inclusive industry. Celebrating women’s contributions not only acknowledges their impact but also inspires future generations of female leaders to pursue careers in finance and fintech.

In conclusion, fostering greater inclusion and empowerment of women in finance and fintech is not merely a matter of equity but a strategic imperative for the industry. By implementing these strategies, we can ensure that women not only participate in these sectors but thrive, leading to a more diverse, innovative, and successful financial landscape.