As a culture we’ve certainly become much more attuned to the challenges women face in the workplace. Bringing our stories to light is a tremendous first step to making change, but there’s so much more that needs to be done from a cultural and institutional perspective. We need to challenge businesses to reimagine their hiring processes to focus on skills assessment rather than resumes alone, develop more inclusive succession planning, and better understand what it takes to retain female workers, among other things. And the payments and fintech industry is no exception:
For this reason, I’m thrilled to join a passionate team of changemakers at Wnet, whose mission is to create a stronger and more diverse payments industry by empowering and investing in women. I am elated and inspired to volunteer my time for this cause.
I have a passion for payments and our company has the honor of serving some of the leading payments companies in the world. Many of the leaders and mentors I have met along the way have been generous women and many more have been highly supportive men who have actively worked to help women succeed in a male-dominated industry. But there is still work to be done – in payments and corporate business at large.
According to the latest Women in the Workplace Report from McKinsey, we are in a precarious situation with respect to women’s advancement. There is startling evidence that millions of women have had to drop out of the workforce during the pandemic as a result of childcare and schools being upended. More than a quarter of women are considering intentionally slowing their careers or leaving the workforce completely. Without radical shifts in corporate cultures and an investment in creating family friendly workplaces that can retain women, we’re facing a crisis: a precipitous drop of female representation and back peddling on decades of strides in gender parity.
But even more startling is the continued failure to advance women through the corporate pipeline. McKinsey explains that the “broken rung” in the system is neglecting to promote women into their first management positions. It still simply happens less for women.
According to the report, in 2020 for every 100 men promoted to manager, only 85 women were promoted—and this gap was even larger for some women: only 58 Black women and 71 Latinas were promoted. As a result, women remained significantly outnumbered in entry-level management at the beginning of 2020—they held just 38 percent of manager-level positions, while men held 62 percent.
This is another deficiency where we may continue to lose ground. When women aren’t elevated into their first manager roles, it sets off a ripple effect that women collectively cannot recover from. Women will be more likely to opt out of a workplace if they aren’t significant earners, representation in C suites and boards will continue to be unbalanced, and the situation will perpetuate. We have to be committed to not only hiring, but propelling the up-and-coming women leaders of tomorrow.
My company is a woman-owned business with an all-female executive team, and we support groups that propel women’s careers in payments such as Wnet, Women in Payments, and the Money 20/20 RiseUp program.
Our workplace allows everyone to have a serious career and pursue their personal commitments and passions outside the office. We are a family friendly workplace and we talk the talk and walk the walk. This not only appeals to women, but it attracts top talent and we are able to grow these leaders and retain them. I believe our culture is responsible for our success.
We have used our influence to become more prescriptive over the years. Our diversity and inclusion commitment includes working with vendors and partners that promote equity and representation for marginalized groups, requiring that conferences we plan and participate in represent truly inclusive voices and perspectives, and counseling our clients to promote and seek out diverse perspectives and voices for thought leadership, spokesperson roles, and award opportunities.
Executives in financial services often reach out to me for advice when they’re looking for qualified job candidates. My response is always the same, especially when it comes to senior-level roles: go one level deeper. Interview and vet out the top candidates but do more digging to identify women and people of color. Consistently doing this will help to bring more talent to the top of the funnel and improve outcomes down the road. Increasing a diversity of perspectives and experiences is good for any business, particularly at the leadership level.
Wnet is essential to harnessing and showcasing the power of women in payments, an industry that continues to grow and innovate at lightspeed. I am honored to help propel its mission to strengthen the industry through diversification.