Bridging the Gender Gap: Challenges and Priorities in the Fintech Industry

The fintech industry has long been recognized as a space of innovation and growth, but a new report from embedded finance platform Solaris, in collaboration with Futura, Solaris’s network for women in fintech, sheds light on the systemic challenges faced by women and underrepresented groups within this dynamic sector. This report, authored by The Fintech Times, delves into the gender gap and financial priorities in the fintech industry.

The findings of the report reveal a stark gender disparity in the fintech workforce, with only 28 percent of employees being women, and an even smaller representation of just 17 percent in senior roles. Moreover, it exposes the hurdles that women encounter when launching their fintech startups, including limited opportunities and funding compared to their male counterparts.

The Finance for Everyone study conducted within the report highlights the critical factors that women prioritize when seeking financial services. Security, openness, and inclusion emerge as the most crucial considerations. In fact, a staggering 77 percent of respondents cited building financial security as their primary goal, ahead of long-term wealth accumulation. Saving for retirement was the third most popular financial priority, selected by 68 percent of participants, while 47 percent acknowledged the importance of protecting themselves from inflation and other economic crises.

Interestingly, the report uncovers that only eight percent of respondents are motivated by the desire to increase their social status. This finding challenges the notion that financial services are entirely gender-neutral and suggests that there is room for improvement in marketing strategies that resonate with women’s financial aspirations.

Alicia Close, senior manager of the cards business at Solaris, emphasizes the untapped potential in providing better financial access to women. Close states, «There is at least $330 billion in annual global revenue waiting to be unlocked by giving women better access to finance. It’s time to ask the question, ‘Where are the products that serve them?’ This research reveals refreshingly simple yet powerful solutions that providers can start turning to in order to remove the barriers for women within current financial services products.»

The report also explores the barriers that women face when using financial products. Lack of knowledge emerges as the predominant obstacle, with 71 percent of respondents citing it as a major issue. Fear of making incorrect financial decisions was noted by 55 percent, while 40 percent identified complexity as a significant hindrance.

Importantly, the study highlights that a lack of knowledge and the fear of discrimination also impact the financial well-being of trans women and non-binary individuals. Only 60 percent of trans respondents reported using a bank account or a debit card, with even fewer utilizing credit cards. The fear of discrimination remains a persistent barrier, with trans women expressing discomfort in seeking financial advice due to concerns about not being taken seriously, misgendering, or being addressed by their previous names.

Solaris’s comprehensive report underscores the gender gap and financial priorities within the fintech industry. It calls for a concerted effort to address these challenges and create more inclusive financial services that cater to the diverse needs and aspirations of women and underrepresented groups in the sector. By doing so, the fintech industry can unlock significant economic opportunities and foster greater financial empowerment for all.

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