Keep an eye on women who are changing the financial technology landscape.
By Eva Gantz (Founder, Giving Books a Voice & Community Programs, Stellar)
Fintech, or financial technology, is quickly becoming an indispensible subset of the tech industry. As fintech startups continues to garner both attention and investments, the financial landscape is about to change with a whole host of new systems and services.
Companies like Stripe, Braintree and Square are widely considered paragons of a successful startup. In the developing world, financial technology represents an opportunity to provide services to 2 billion unbanked people. Fintech is taking off all over the world, and in many directions at once.
Despite this acceleration, financial tech’s diversity undeniably lags behind other industries. For instance, just 11.6 % of Fortune 500 CFOs are women. If financial tech is to reach its fullest potential, we must actively support and bolster female leadership.
That’s why I’m taking this opportunity to shine a spotlight on three women in fintech changing their industry for the better.
Christine Duhaime focuses on the intersection of financial technology and law. She presently works at Duhaime Law, co-founded nonprofit think tank Digital Finance Institute, and advises startups at SuperCharger accelerator in Hong Kong.
Christine comments and writes on fintech law in publications like the Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail. Christine also co-authored a fantastic power women in fintech index for Innotribe, where she curates over four hundred female leaders in the industry.
There isn’t much Joyce Kim hasn’t done in her career: she’s been a lawyer, successful entrepreneur, a Director’s Fellow at the MIT Media Lab and even a venture capitalist.
Joyce’s current pursuit is Stellar.org, the nonprofit she co-founded to increase financial access for all. (Note: I work with Joyce at Stellar.) She frequently speaks about how financial tech can enable economic participation for everyone worldwide, particularly folks who live on $2 or less each day. She writes on these topics for the Huffington Post and Forbes. Read more about Joyce on Crunchbase and her blog.
Maria Ramos is the CEO of Barclays Africa and Absa Group. Originally from Portugal, Ramos is now a member of World Economic Forum’s International Business Council. Maria has even topped a few of Forbes’s “power women” roundups.
Fun fact: Maria even participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014. Maria speaks about the challenges of diversity in fintech, commenting that “it’s been hard work […] getting across the message that there are a lot of incredibly smart women and black professionals in this space.” Learn more about Maria on Forbes.
Looking Towards the Future
When workforces have balanced gender representation, economies are proven to grow faster. With so much at stake—including a measurable increase in profit—we must work together to inspire and support women in fintech.
Christine herself emphasizes the “importance of celebrating the good things that are happening in the FinTech space” in the Fintech Power Women Index referenced above. When we spotlight women actively making headway in the space, we reinforce their efforts and broaden their impact. One of the most important means of support at our disposal, then, is celebration of the hundreds of talented, hardworking women in our field.
As 2016 begins, be sure to keep an eye on Christine, Joyce and Maria and their impactful work. They are showing the world how to take fintech by storm.
About the guest blogger: Eva Gantz is a latte-powered writer at the intersection of social good, tech, money and sexuality. She builds global community at Stellar.org, a nonprofit working toward financial access for all. Eva also founded Giving Books a Voice, a consultancy and free resource on social media for authors. Follow Eva on Twitter at @EvaGantz.