Women have been breaking barriers and pioneering different industries, and the financial industry is one of them. Rising above sexism in the work domain, these women have moved up the ladder with their talent, hard work, and intelligence. Women are taking on more and more executive leadership roles across the board in the financial and banking world.
Women working in banks, especially in senior or technology-focused roles, is a modern phenomenon. For the past decade, the challenge has been placing women in leadership roles, as well as closing the gender gap (in pay and representation).
Good leadership is the ability to influence teams and achieve goals, which makes understanding the qualities of a good leader’s mission, critical to a company’s overall success. So, why do women make good leaders in financial services?
Experts often cite the benefits of financial technology (fintech) and digital finance for women. At the same time, few women are represented in decision-making roles in this fast-growing industry. While they make up half of the financial services workforce in many countries, women fill only about 20 percent of the leadership roles. Their representation in emerging markets is lower. Even so, they do better in finance than in the other part of the equation, the technology sector.
If the COVID-19 pandemic taught the financial services industry anything, it’s the need for more flexibility. From a leadership perspective, it’s important to give employees the time they need to manage their schedules.
The pandemic has increased digital and tech adoption over the past year. To succeed, leaders will need to learn from these continual changes and adapt quickly to the needs of both their employees and customers. This means forming strategic partnerships, enhancing the customer experience, improving customer engagement, and more. It takes a good listener and a watchful eye, both of which are positive traits in women, to anticipate trends and adapt accordingly.
Placing women in leadership positions tends to drive innovation, increase productivity, and boost profitability. Yet among fintech founders, women are less likely to receive investor funding than their male counterparts. The stubborn gender gap in fintech leadership stems from more than the lack of diversity in financial services and the scarcity of women across the wider tech sector. Differing cultural norms also come into play, along with each country’s current economic conditions.
A good leader works alongside their teams to understand what they are thinking and how things are working – all of which allow leaders to learn what their teams need to succeed. This helps a good leader find the challenges and remove the obstacles – so their teams are happier and can complete more projects in less time.