30 March 2023 |

Fintech & Women’s History Month


March madness. 

While I’m not talking about basketball, this month was a wild ride! From celebrating the great work of women in fintech/financial services to panic working all weekend because of a bank run, it’s been an eventful month. 

It’s safe to say that there’s never a dull moment in fintech, and the last four weeks have certainly been no exception. 

Interestingly, the crises our industry faced during Women’s History Month had one silver lining: it emphasized that the real risk in business is not too much diversity but too little. This is why organizations should actively work on increasing diversity within their teams and create an inclusive environment that allows everyone to feel valued and heard. 

As we continue to navigate this unprecedented time, let us remember the importance of diversity in fintech and strive to create more equitable and inclusive workplaces by revisiting the best news, insights, profiles, and podcasts of the monumental month. 

And here’s to hoping the next month is a bit calmer!

  1. Women Women Lead, Fintech Wins
Confident businesswomen stand together. Strong females entrepreneurs support each other. Confident businesswomen stand together. Strong females entrepreneurs support each other. Vector Concept of equitable participation of women in politics and business. women leaders stock illustrations

As we entered Women’s History Month, we kicked off by amplifying diverse female voices in fintech who are striving to bring financial equity to our world. Ready to expand your network? 

Get to know the list of 15 standout women in fintech founders, operators and builders.

  1. Lule Demmissie: A Force In Fintech

Wall Street has long been dominated by men, but as women and women of color we can’t let that intimidate us. Take a page from Lule Demmissie’s book, a Black LGBTQ+ woman who has prevailed in a space that was never made for her. Until she arrived in it. This is her story.

  1. Embedded Finance Can Bring Women Into Fintech

Venture capitalists have long overlooked women and diverse founders due to the social and racial homogeneity of the industry, perpetuating a cycle of male founders receiving the most funding. Katie Palencsar, managing director at Anthemis Group, shares how embedded finance unlocked a cohort of founders whose backgrounds are wildly different, creating a new cycle of female leaders who bring more women into the fintech workforce. 

For extra on this topic, tune into Humans of Fintech podcast episode with Katie where we discuss this topic in depth and more. 

  1. Why the Fintech Industry Must Take the Lead in Gender Equity

The United Nations issued a stark warning this month, revealing that gender equity is still 300 years away. To bridge this wide gap, the UN has called for greater gender inclusion in innovation and technology. 

This is of particular importance, especially when it comes to financial equity. As Sallie Krawcheck, the Founder and CEO of Ellevest, pointed out, women have been given a late start in many aspects of finance, from having access to credit cards to reaching top positions in corporate organizations. Yet, hundreds of years later, we are still trying to close the gender gaps created by history. 

Therefore, if we hope to achieve gender equity, we must also center the need for financial equity and leverage technology. 

  1. Silicon Valley Bank Fallout & the Shaky Foundation Our Industry Stands On

Much of the conversation around SVB concerns the problems with taking shortcuts among business decisions in financial services, misinformation on social media, and herd mentality across venture capitalists’ inner circle that spiraled into a full-fledged bank run. 

These concerns expose the shaky foundation on which our entire industry stands. We need proper representation and cognitive diversity to build resilient systems. Without diversity, we are doomed to repeat this cycle. 

We’ve been pouring 1-ingredient concrete. And, as it turns out, that’s just sand.

As long as the same group of people continues to make decisions and online engagement exacerbates fear, uncertainty, and doubt, these occurrences will persist, disproportionately impacting women and other marginalized communities not part of the inner circle.

For extra, check out this story on how to not get distracted by the BS. 

  1. Meet VC Disruptor Arlan Hamilton

“I want to share my journey, not because I think I’m exceptional, but because, like so many people, I have been exceptionally underestimated,” – Arlan Hamilton. 

Meet the investor who has reimagined diversity, equity, and inclusion as the biggest opportunity in investment.

  1. Why A Fintech Company Is Going Back To Basics In The Classroom 
(Photo featuring Leslie Lacayo, Fintech Is Femme member and leader at Step!)

How come they teach math and sex-ed at school but not money? CJ MacDonald is CEO and Founder of Step, the next generation financial services company helping teens and young adults achieve financial independence and knowledge at an earlier age. 

In this podcast episode CJ and I discuss why fintech and financial education creates the building blocks to financial stability for our country’s most vulnerable: kids. 

  1.  Takeaways from Fintech MeetUp

In the middle of the current economic crisis and Silicon Valley Bank’s recent collapse, the fintech industry has been incredibly optimistic in the face of these challenges. 

At least, that’s what I heard after more than 3,000 fintech nerds gathered in Las Vegas earlier this month during Fintech Meetup. This complex environment is seemingly the push the fintech industry needed to not only rise to the occasion but also think outside the box and come up with new metrics for success. 

Simply put: The potential of fintech is immense, and the current crisis has only highlighted this. 

  1. How Fintech Boosts Economic Equity For Women Worldwide

I published a piece for Forbes diving into how female-led fintech companies are helping women worldwide gain access to financial services, allowing them to take control of their financial decisions and well-being with newfound confidence.

Women have been historically underrepresented in finance, so much so that financial services firms are missing at least a $700 billion revenue opportunity each year by not fully meeting the needs of female customers, according to research by Oliver Wyman.

Female founders from diverse backgrounds and with different life experiences are ideally suited to create solutions specifically designed to meet the needs of female users. This, in turn, leads to an increased female user base and helps to bridge the gender wealth gaps.

  1. Building Community Through Real Talk With Fintech Takes

What happens when Alex Johnson of Fintech Takes and I throw open the doors for tackling the real questions around fintech inclusivity, if B2C fintech is dead (or should be), and how Gen Z and missional values must align when it comes to choosing a career path? 

Find out in this special episode of Humans of Fintech. Plus you’ll also hear questions from the audience, including the unsexy parts of banking that fintech needs to get into next.