How to solve female underrepresentation in fintech 

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By Rarzack Olaegbe

The short movie was different in tone and its narrative. It is not the regular flip that preaches the same old cliché of demanding that women be put in a leading role. That is why it captures attention. The YouTube video focuses on tiredness and highlights reasons women should get equal opportunity in the work place. It pushes hard against the stereotype of saying women’s place is in the kitchen. It does not buy the thinking that all women are bulls.

Especially, one of the ladies in the video speaks about being tired of working 50-hour a week in an architecture firm designing kitchens, and ironically, she cannot find one-hour a week to cook in her own kitchen! The ladies say they are tired. They say they do not want to work for money before they have it. They say they could just have it. The brilliant short movie is from The Women against Tiredness in Society (TWATS), a women’s right NGO, to commemorate the International Women’s Day (IWD).

The IWD says that an equal world is an enabled world and that you and I can help to forge a gender-equal world. To buy into this, let us celebrate women’s achievements. Let us raise awareness against bias. Let us take action for equality. That is what Gloria Steinem, the world-renowned feminist, journalist and activist said long ago that the story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of “all who care about human rights.”

That is why when the leading ladies in financial technology gather on April 14 at the Tech Zone, Gbagada, they will not speak against tiredness. They will not discuss spending 50-hour designing kitchens without getting one hour a week to cook in their own kitchens. They will talk about how to solve the challenge of underrepresentation in the financial technology ecosystem.

The leading ladies will pursue how to accelerate gender inclusion and improve peer support and how to leverage the support. They will debate about how to access the required technical skill set and learning. All the leading ladies in financial technology will gather and they will gather under the auspice of FemTech in Fintech Forum (FiFF) to discuss how to set a national agenda.

FemTech in Fintech Forum is co-located within www.lagosfintechweek.com.ng.   It   is the premier networking event that celebrates, promotes and entrenches the activities of women in the financial technology industry in Africa. The event creates a positive arena where leading women come together to discuss issues relating to leadership, female-led founders, bridging the gender gap, pushing diversity and inspiring the future generations of girls into the fintech sector. It offers intimate woman-to-woman networking, where women can connect, create and celebrate  ione a other. It is put together by Fintech 1000plus and managed by eMaginations. Dr Yele Okeremi, CEO of Precise Financial System is the chairman of the Organising Committee.

All the leading ladies and more including Christabel Onyejekwe, Executive Director of Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System; Adedoyin Odunfa, CEO of Digital Jewels, Prof. Yinka David-West, Academic Director of Lagos Business School, Odun Eweniyi, the co-founder of Piggyvest, Lola Ekugo, head, Digital innovation Lab of FirstBank of Nigeria, Shola Olufosoye, the Vice President, IT Operations of iQx Consult Limited and Titilola Shogaolu, Divisional CEO of Interswitch Financial Inclusion Services (IFIS) will lead the discussion at the event.

The leading women in the Fintech space such as founders, regulators, venture capitalists and executives will gather to address specific issues that will accelerate the most important inclusion in Fintech – the gender inclusion. Without doubt, the world is a better place with women. The workplace is a better environment with women. This is because women bring balance. Women bring emotional intelligence. Women bring skills that aren’t available in the market. As such, women deserve to be successful.

However, according to research, 80 per cent of household spending and financial management decisions are taken by women. The only seven per cent of Fintech organisations employ female executives. The 73 per cent of women globally report dissatisfaction with their banking services while 80 per cent of women-owned small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with credit needs are un-served or underserved according to the Global Banking Alliance for Women. Therefore, it’s clear that there is a large percentage of Fintech users are female.

Why then are women underrepresented in the executive talents pool? For instance, of the 38 Fintech companies that raised venture capital funding in Africa in 2018, none had female chief executive. This and other salient issues affecting women in the Fintech ecosystem will be addressed by these leading ladies when they gather on April 14.

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