“I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.”
― Jane Austen, Persuasion
The world had to wait till 1967 for the first woman to have a seat in the New York Stock Exchange. That breakthrough belongs to Muriel Siebert, whose namesake, Siebert Financial Corporation remains one of the best investment firms globally. Wall Street and its so-called “Wolves” have been well documented in their efforts to make the world of finance another frat house to party in the occasion for the celebration being the glory of being born a man in a patriarchal world.
But the market is shifting. The Goliaths of Wall Street are finding their Davids in small-scale startups that are employing new technological advancements to further the boundaries of finance. And it is no surprise that a lot of these are headed by people from marginalized demographics, especially women.
Female Fintech Champions
Women have been disparaged for centuries especially in the department of finance. Their ability to make as much or more money as men have been casually written off. Thus leading to the normalization of exacerbated work opportunities for the female gender as a whole. However, the women of CNote, loan company KapitalTech, Alipay, etc. namely, Cat Berman and Yuliya Tarasava, Shaili Kajaria, and Rita Liu respectively, prove otherwise by not only founding but also elevating their companies to multi-million dollar fintech businesses in today’s world.
With the exponential rise of female-led or co-founded by women startups, Fintech is automatically reshaping itself towards inclusivity, social awareness, and ease of access. For example, Priya Sharma and Lizzie Chapman’s ZestMoney founded in 2015 tend to the financial business of over 300 million homes in India alone. This platform allows people with scant credit history or agency to avail themselves of finance options. Sayali Karanjkar co-founded Paysense in 2016 to reach the nethermost of the economic echelon. The enterprise has done astounding works in providing proprietary schemes irrespective of the client’s gender, social stature, or career.
Some international women-led enterprises are noteworthy in their diversity and protean ventures. The likes of NY’s fraud prevention platform, Fraud.net President, Cathy Ross, chief operating officer of African payment gateway Carry1st, Lucy Hoffman, London’s TruRating founder and CEO, Georgina Nelson, etc. deserve special mention. Educating newbies on planet-friendly sustainable digital tools, Helena Mueller, co-founded Stockholm-based Doconomy, while Joanna Bichsel created an eCommerce platform specifically designed for African women’s health and care called Kasha.
Spearheading the business evolution in the realm of Indian Fintech, these female pioneers deserve special spotlight:
Bestowing brilliance upon India’s Fintech industry, NIT Jalandhar’s Upasana Taku, co-founded Mobikwik in 2009. Over the years, the digital wallet i.e. payment platform t has gained a galore of positive reviews from users of all walks of life. Ambika Miglani, Co-founder of Decrypted By Us, Swati Lad founder of the highly efficient fintech startup, CreditMate, Hardika Shah, Founder & CEO, Kinara Capital, and Priyanka Kanwar, Co-founder, and CEO at Kite are some of the other eminent figures in the contemporary Fintech world, shattering the patriarchal glass ceiling with a hair flip.
Making It in Fintech as Female Entrepreneurs
Financial Technologies, as an industry, is fairly new and still is in its conception stages. The growing pains have not yet dissipated. The concepts of blockchains, cryptocurrency, decentralized currencies, and online services are not only new to the consumers, but also to the entrepreneurs themselves as well. Being as such, a lot of traditional investors tend to stay away from these businesses on principle.
As such, the fintech market is prime for fresh blood. The spirit of youth, coupled with the inherent drive to take risks goes a long way in unproven grounds like this. And this produces some unique challenges for the female aspirants who are looking forward to a career in fintech. Whatever a man has to do, a woman has to do some more on top of that and do so flawlessly. And when these expectations are coupled with the already negative connotations a lot of people have about the much-discussed “female work ethic,” it makes for a very hostile workplace.
Like in every field of work and life, fintech brings forth challenges categorically crafted for women.
In the face of enduring gender biases every day, women are now leading more businesses and founding startups than ever. It has always been an excess of unpaid domestic labor or inequality and inequity that perhaps finds answers in the number of women-led fintech ventures.
Modern female entrepreneurs command great power and are slowly recovering all women’s share of business opportunities from the patriarchal abyss. Notwithstanding the lack of external investment and the gender-biased funding markdown, female entrepreneurs are sailing through the daily storm of fintech.