Just 1.5 per cent of global fintech firms are founded solely by women, and female-led firms receive just one per cent of total fintech funding, a new study has found.
The first global benchmark of gender diversity in fintech has revealed the systemic under-representation of women and investment. Produced by global fintech think tank Findexable, the Diversity For Growth report found that women make up just 11 per cent of all board members and 19 per cent of company executives around the world.
In Europe, two per cent of fintech companies have been founded solely by women, while 19 per cent of European executives are women and eight per cent of these are chief executives.
London is the top location globally for the biggest companies (500-1001 employees) with female chief executives, and boasts the most companies including a female executive.
“Global prosperity is more evenly distributed than at any point in history, yet our data shows the massive imbalance between men and women in innovative financial services firms,” said Simon Hardie, chief executive and co-founder of Findexable.
“Fintech is a key enabler in the digital economy and the sector plays an outsize role in reducing economic exclusion and powering digital transformation.
“The data released today bears witness to the birth of a new ‘one per cent club’ in the amount of funding raised by sole women-founded firms. A number that should be celebrated and commiserated in equal measure.”
The report found that Asia has the highest proportion of female founders at 7.7 per cent, followed closely by Africa at 7.4 per cent. This compares to Europe at 6.5 per cent and North America at 4.8 per cent.
Africa has the highest proportion of female board members at nearly 15 per cent, while Africa and the Middle East are the leading regions for female chief executives. North America has the highest proportion of female executive team members.
“While the research paints a disappointing picture of fintech’s performance at building an industry that reflects the real world, this research should be viewed as a line in the sand,” said Denise Gee, co-founder of Findexable.
“From today all of us – from government to regulators, ecosystems and financial services firms of all sizes – need to ‘dig in’ (not lean in) to make the case and accelerate the progress of women and diverse teams.”
Gee added that Findexable will be convening a London roundtable of global stakeholders in December to take the report’s recommendations forward and build a global index to track and accelerate progress.