FintechNews (FN): How’s diversity and inclusion in FinTech?
Neha Mehta (NM): Things are changing for good, but we’re far from seeing these changes really impacting women.Only 2% of funding goes to female founders. I’d worked in FinTech startups which showed examples of the biased behaviour women face at work. It gave me a good grounding in things like investment and legal counsel, but it was difficult for me to speak my mind.Often male bosses want to show diversity in their team, but when it comes to actually empowering staff by providing the right tools and environment – all that is lacking. I felt I needed to do something to fix this.
FN: How do you think women can overcome this?
NM: It’s useful for women to kickstart their journey in FinTech because there are no fixed roots. We’re always breaking barriers and changing the landscape.
FN: How’s the playing field for women seeking jobs or investment in FinTech?
NM: Because it’s a very unequal platform to begin with, women find it more difficult to stand their ground and push themselves properly. We often tend to undersell ourselves as a result. Studies have shown male founders tend to ask for a higher sum when fundraising.
FN: What’s a practical way in which women can prepare themselves for such a situation?
NM: We need to be very thick-skinned. It’s a numbers game – the more doors you knock on, the better the success rate. So we should never be disheartened. At the same time, it’s important to have support. Networking groups are particularly helpful as you can hear about the kinds of questions women are generally asked and how to navigate those. As women we need to make sure we step up our game and showcase ourselves as someone who knows what they’re doing. We need to blow our own trumpet because men do that very easily! We always downplay our skillset.
FN: How have bias and harassment been dealt with in the field?
NM: We feel if we report things we might lose our job and we think of all the trickle down effects… but if we know we are talented enough we can see there are better opportunities and we can work in a safer environment. It’s so important to feel safe; only then can we be productive. That’s why businesses need the right HR policies in place and that needs to be clear.
FN: And how can women find the right environment to thrive in FinTech?
NM: Sometimes when we go for interviews we meet bosses who come across as someone who is not the kind of boss we want – you can be really intuitive in that sense. It’s important to listen to that inner voice.