How can We Get More Women to be a Part of India's Fintech Ecosystem

In a country like India wherein, financial inclusion is one of the most important tasks at hand to complete, very few fintech companies are led by women co-founder.

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In a country like India wherein, financial inclusion is one of the most important tasks at hand to complete, very few fintech companies are led by women co-founder.

There is enough said and written about the women's participation in the Indian economy, but on the ground level, everything is just sour. The gender gap in the workforce is only widening – in fact, one of the most promising and emerging segment financial technology or fintech is a great example of this issue.

In a country like India wherein, financial inclusion is one of the most important tasks at hand to complete, very few fintech companies are led by women co-founder. And the numbers don't seem to improve in the near future.

While discussing the trend with Entrepreneur India, Manish Lunia from feels the fintech industry is grappling with a severe under-representation of women especially in leadership roles. The industry is positioned between finance and technology which have traditionally been male-dominated industries.

"At a surface level, people always say that they don't get equal numbers of applications from men and women and that the people they hire are a reflection of the applicants," he shares while adding that, " But that's passing the buck as this is significantly more complex and a deeper issue. I believe the gender gap we see today is a result of decades of deep-rooted cultural nuances, where gender roles have been stereotyped to portray men and women in a certain way."

While on the other side, according to Priti M Shah, CEO, Payswiff India it is a new sector which just started growing in the last 5 years. So, very few individuals are specialized with the required skills and knowledge.

Additionally, there are very few academic courses and degree for fintech. It is only through the experience where women can get in the fintech sector.

She says, "It's more of a mindset and not because of any gender or stereotype. Also, women assume they need to be well versed with the finance or marketing. They put more emphasis on soft skills role rather than a pure technology role."

Female On-board

It is a well-established fact, women especially at the leadership level, don't just come on board with their technical knowledge but also get an entire closet of qualities required to be CEO or a co-founder.

Prabhu Ram, MD & Group CEO of Payswiff and also Shah's colleague feels women have the ability to make people connected to the larger picture.

"A farsighted and long-term approach coupled with compassion and empathy makes a huge difference. They have a unique trait to multi-task which in turns adds value to the system," he points.

But then the question remains – how to do we see more female-led fintech companies?

There is no single solution to this problem but through focused programmes, incubators for women entrepreneurs, policies and similar initiatives to bring more female candidates into the profession, we can have many more women participating in India's financial inclusion plan.

Getting Women to Join Fintech Companies

Coming to getting women to join fintech companies as employees – there is a lot of opportunities for in domains like technology, business development, marketing, etc. All that you need to change is the mindset.

One of the fintech companies which has been able to almost balance the gender gap within the organization is Bank Bazaar. Close to 40 per cent of Bank Bazaar employees are females which the company claims have been completely organic.

Adhil Shetty, Co-founder & CEO, says employees require adequate support in the form of leaves, sabbaticals, and reintegration programs. No individual or team can grow without adequate mentoring, so organizations must make sure there are female role models within the company.

"Early discussions with female staff about career aspirations and ensuring the right support and encouragement will make sure that your employees give their best shot, bringing more value to the organization," he added.

Even Lunia's opinion echoed with Shetty as he suggests the companies need to combat the bias through a rigorous review of hiring process i.e. right from reviewing all job descriptions to ensure the language appeals to female applicants, developing hiring principles and structured interview process to review.

"We ensure to educate our teams on the power of diversity and provide flexibility & benefits at work to attract more talent. As an industry, we need to invest heavily in mentorship programmes for female employees aimed at providing career guidance and growth. This will amplify their voices and influence to cultivate role models for future female employees," he concluded.