(originally posted 28 May 2019)
OK, let’s cut to the chase.
As co-founder and Executive Board Member of EWPN and payments lawyer and business leader I believe that the male dominated FinTech sector requires its male executives (especially the more senior ones) to take positive steps to encourage and deliver diversity.
Sorry guys; but creating an equal playing field when it comes to diversity is not just women’s work (although I accept that generally, it has been seen to be).
The following quote from financier Ben Gold at QuickBridge Funding exactly addresses what the EWPN team is here to achieve:
Across the industry, we need to agree that there’s a lack of diversity and that diversity matters. Then, as a united front, we can begin the important work of hiring and investing in a more diverse group of people. As companies in our industry that invest in diversity inevitably succeed, other companies will quickly see the value and do the same until the past cycle of homogeneity is broken.
EWPN is spearheading this work in FinTech and here we state our position:
It is a known fact that equality greatly benefits societies – and helps companies improve productivity, improve financial performance, widen their talent pool and positively impact on the economies of nations. Gender equality, parity, diversity and inclusion is not a ‘women’s issue’ or a certain group issue, but is a societal issue and cannot be advanced solely through women’s efforts in public or private spheres.
Why is this a key, FinTech issue?
Lack of diversity is an issue in particular, within the financial sectors and, as these two articles illustrate, can constitute a risk:
FinTech is clearly a part of this.
Global research findings and articles continue however, to illustrate the positive impacts of inclusion on the financial bottom line.
This highlights the benefit that positive change, instigated at a senior level, can bring within finance:
This shows more generally, how gender diversity boosts business and there is no need to be repetitive in this blog, so just read more here:
So, what’s needed?
In terms of ‘what needs to be done in FinTech’ we must agree that lack of inequality is injurious and therefore, positive diversity policies must be adopted.
Then, as the companies within our industry that have invested in diversity – and of course joined our network as members – are (inevitably) seen to thrive; others will quickly see the value and follow.
And, whist the initial responsibility for change sits predominately at senior level, cultural change must be embedded within each tier of an organisation.
Diversity and inclusion must not simply be, an AOB item to conclude a board meeting.
Men are our allies
Women – men are your allies here.
By publicly speaking out and working in partnership with women, underrepresented groups and minorities; men can become key gamechangers in transforming cultures and institutions.
EWPN actively encourages males within the payments sector to use their voice and make a difference by challenging and changing policy, delivering mentoring and acting as allies and sponsors.
This article examples where the diversity change agenda is ‘male driven’:
EWPN inclusion at our ‘women only’ conference
As we continue to expand the EWPN network, we will develop our leadership programme and launch further initiatives.
These will include a comprehensive ‘male ally’ programme.
Indeed, gender inclusion is being spearheaded at our 2019 EWPN annual conference (4th to 5th June).
This is not a ‘women only’ conference and as part of the event, men are not only more than welcome, also we intend to surprise you with a “manel” session, which (amongst our other predominantly female speaker only sessions) will be led by our own Silvia Mensdorff-Pouilly.
This will give delegates the opportunity to hear what some of our male allies believe to be necessary in order to drive a diverse industry and what role they and other leaders can play.
In addition, who would want to miss the opportunity to turn the tables and ask author Chris Skinner basically anything, during our awards dinner?
Check out the full programme and register your place here before it is too late: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/european-women-payments-network-annual-conference-ams-2019-tickets-53143739355. If you have a Money2020 ticket you can come to our conference on the 5th for free.
In addition, at EWPN AMS 2019, we will also present earlier research findings and launch the new EWPN FinTech Research Network. https://ewpn.eu/research-network.
This will strive to be a leader in the creation and dissemination of evidence-based research on gender and diversity; with a specific focus on the payments and FinTech industries.
The EWPN FinTech Research Network has two focus areas: ‘Women in the finance industry’ and ‘Building financial services for women.’
The first examines the value of gender parity and diversity with regards to innovation, productivity, product development, talent management, sustainable growth and value creation.
The second explores the potential of FinTech to close the ‘gender gap by providing financial services that are meaningful to women.’
EWPN will not be a lone voice
As it calls for the promotion of a progressive agenda and for gender parity and diversity in the payments industry, it is important that EWPN does not become (or becomes seen as), a lone voice.
The responsibility does not just sit on our shoulders.
We do not believe however, that this will be the case.
This is because, as diversity and inclusion continue to be highlighted and addressed, more and more people will start to get involved and take on ownership.
This will happen quite simply because, diversity is a not just a shared responsibility; it is something that brings benefit to all.
Here at EWPN however, we would like to see this happen sooner, rather than later.
Join the tribe now by joining our conference next week or by contacting us (firstname.lastname@example.org).