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What to retain from the study “Gender diversity in FinTech: where are the women? "

April 4, 2019 | News, Publications

« France FinTechArkea et Roland Berger have just unveiled their latest study on gender diversity in FinTech: " Gender diversity in FinTech: where are the women? Proposals to encourage plural vocations". On the occasion, they organize a meet-up to present the results of the study, in the presence of Axelle Lemaire (Global Head of Terra Numerata, Roland Berger), Thierry Quesnel (Partner, Roland Berger), Anne-Laure Navéos ( Managing Director, M&A Strategic Investments, Digital, Arkea), Alain Clot (President France Fintech), Kristen Charvin (Managing Director, France Fintech) and other committed entrepreneurs.

You weren't able to attend, even if the topic interests you? Perhaps you yourself contributed to the study?

We present here the major results of the inventory in preview.

No surprise: women remain poorly represented in FinTech

In France, nothing to celebrate for FinTech:

  • 9% of Fintech founders are women
  • 12% of management teams are made up of women
  • 33% of the workforce is made up of women

In comparison, in the United States, it is not much better:

  • 16% of start-up founders (including 2% in financial services) are women
  • 2,5% have exclusively female founding teams

* Ian Hathawat, “The Ascent of Women-Founded Venture-Backed Startups in the United States”, Center for American Entrepreneurship,
February 2019

The study speaks of the "double penalty" of women in FinTech who are very poorly represented and therefore visible both in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, innovation, and in the finance sector.

The study speaks of 3 biases at the source of this under-representation of women:

  • education and orientation biases
  • cultural and societal representation of the banking, finance and technology sectors
  • the self-censorship of women who influence their career choices and the transition to entrepreneurship
A question of education

The report points to school and education systems with scientific fields that are still predominantly male. He takes the example of engineering profiles where the number of women is declining.

In particular, the number of women in engineering training is far from a perfect mix.

In 2018, there were:

  • 15% of women at Polytechnique
  • 20% of women at Télécom Paris Tech
  • 19% of women at Central Supelec
  • ...

* Source: Le Figaro; New Factory; Roland berger

We therefore remain with the anchored cultural predestination of men for so-called scientific and technical professions and sectors. While the majority of Fintech founders (out of the 10 most important fundraisers in 2018) have an engineer profile.

Limited access to funding

If women are less able to finance their projects, the obstacle is certain. The amount of fundraising remains even lower among women than among men. In 2017, women raised 142,5 million euros (which corresponds to 7% of the total amount of funds allocated to Fintech business creation projects).

On the 1st round of financing, the report recalls that the average ticket for fundraising is 3,5 million euros against 6,9 million for men, or half less for women (StartHer-KPMG 2018 Women's Tech Entrepreneurship Barometer, March 21, 2018).

On the other side of the mirror, out of the 10 VC funds most invested in known FinTech financing, there are only 6% of female Partners (i.e. 5 women out of 78 in total). Cognitive bias is therefore a risk if the majority of the people behind the funding are men.

The desired reforms for a Women in Fintech Agenda

Education & training

  • Feminize training in digital professions
  • Define quantified objectives for kept promises

Access to financing

  • Encourage an effort towards more diversity in events, conferences and pitch competitions
  • Establish more diversity in investment funds and introduce gender into the investment doctrine

An egalitarian professional environment

  • Tackle persistent pay gaps (In 2018, the pay gap rate was still 9%)
  • Generalize paternity leave

Prevent cognitive biases

The importance of diversity in teams: the report points to an important element on the necessary diversity of teams.

« The diversity of profiles in the FinTech ecosystem is all the more important as the IT programming professions have become strategic. The algorithms developed by almost exclusively male teams would present significant risks of cognitive bias reproducing prejudices and stereotypes. The danger of self-learning machines reproducing sexist cognitive biases could increase as the machine becomes autonomous from its creator. »

You can find our cross conversation on the subject, between Céline Lazorthes and Anaïs Raoux, by following this link. "

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