Microfinance Centre at LendIt Fintech- September 2019, London

You may have thought finance and technology are not female domains. We want to prove you it’s changing and that the microfinance sector is a pioneer in women employment. We encourage you to read our short note from LendIt Fintech summit in London, attended by Katarzyna Pawlak and Aleksandra Karabon from MFC.

Katarzyna Pawlak  Microfinance Centre’s Deputy Director has discussed during a session “Women in Fintech” the topic: Setting an industry-standard – how to create a culture where women succeed. Two other panellists were Tram Anh Nguyen from CFTE – Centre for Finance, Technology and Entrepreneurship and Harriet Rees representing Starling Bank. The discussion was very inspiring. All of the panellists shared the insights from their businesses, especially how women succeeded in their companies and what kind of challenges are waiting for women who want to make a career. Tram Anh highlighted the role of education, whereas Herriet admitted that extremely important is the support of charismatic women leaders.

Katarzyna shared insights from microfinance sector regarding gender diversity. According to the microfinance overview survey  Gender diversity in microfinance seems to be in favor of women: 60% of all employees are women. And the average number of women staff is approximately 20% higher in Eastern European countries vs. situation in Western Europe. Katarzyna talked about not only the number of employees at the microfinance sector but also the fact, that big share of its clients are women as well.

She discussed modern type of leadership, which in contrary to the traditional top-down one, needs a lot of flexibility but first of all emotional intelligence. We need more cooperative leadership in the fast changing and diverse society, instead of traditional top-down leadership. That requires personal traits which are regarded as possessed by women – said Katarzyna – women success is quite often limited by social norms, which discourage the development of women’s leadership.

The panel brought indeed an interesting insight and real life examples on women leadership and the possibilities to enhance it, but also the obstacles women face.

The whole conference was a very good networking opportunity, we had a chance to speak to many interesting fintech companies. The event was hosted in Business Design Centre in London, 24-25 September 2019.