What’s this all about?
International Women’s Day was started at a time of great unrest and critical debate amongst women. We’ve certainly come a long way since those days of trailing skirts and broad-brimmed hats. In the following article, we do some digging into the numbers to see how things really stack up for women in business and in fintech. While there’s still work to be done, there are signs of progress. We also chatted to the ladies of LEVERIS about what this date means to us and why it’s so important.
Read on if you:
- Want to get an idea of the current lay of the land
- Are keen to know how we at LEVERIS measure up
- Have an interest in hearing what IWD means to us
International Women’s Day has been celebrated since the early 20th century. After the idea was tabled at a conference in 1910, it was honoured for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland in 1911.
Today, it represents a day of reflection on the achievements of women; of where we are now and where we’d like to be.
So where exactly are we now anyway?
Well, according to data compiled by the UN in 2019, 54 per cent of the world’s women participate in the workforce in comparison with 93 per cent of men. While this figure of 54 per cent is modest, it does represent an increase. OECD research on labour force statistics suggest that the average global participation figure was about 37.8 per cent in the year 2000.
Gradual increase seems to be the name of the day, a recurrent trend across the different facets of business. For instance, between 2012 and 2019, there was an increase of 3.9 per cent in female professionals holding an executive position on the board of directors of FTSE 250 companies in the UK. In Italy, the number of women heading up start-ups grew from 17 in 2013 to 331 in 2018. In 2017, women constituted 61 per cent of the fundraisers who acquired financing through donation-based crowdfunding, but this was the only category in which they enjoyed a majority. Another survey of startups in the US, the UK, China and Canada found that half had no women on their leadership team.
As for fintech, the numbers tell a similar story. Amongst Latin American countries, stats show that Uruguay and Peru lead the pack with the highest percentages of female-founded fintech start-ups at 47 and 44 per cent respectively. In Brazil, where blockchain technology has reportedly gained a presence in the last decade, a survey found that just 20 per cent of women managed such companies.
Insights from Sifted suggest that women now make up around 20 per cent of the total number of fintech executive roles globally. In Europe, Spain is the only country that meets the global average for female representation in fintech c-suites at 25 per cent.
But Sifted also found reason to be positive as there are some signs of progress. A 2019 study from Spain’s Fintech Women Network revealed that 57 per cent of fintech employees are women – double the number reported the previous year. In Lithuania, Europe’s second-biggest fintech hub, 60 per cent of fintechs have a sizeable female workforce, with women making up at least one-third of their employees.
While there’s still plenty of room to improve, we at LEVERIS stack up fairly well comparatively. At a glance:
- 35% of us are women
- 35% of our leadership team are women
This year, we’re taking a moment to connect remotely and reflect on why International Women’s Day is important and what it means to us.
What IWD means to us at LEVERIS
Aifric O'Malley, Service Delivery Manager, Dublin office
“International Women’s Day is an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the many incredible women that have paved the way towards equality. It is a day to acknowledge the intelligent, innovative, creative and strong women we call our colleagues, friends and family. It also allows us to look at the gender-based barriers to success and help shape the future.
“It is important to recognise how far we have come, but also that there is still work to be done. Every year on International Women’s Day, I make a point of thanking my mum and my friends for their continued encouragement and support.
“Ultimately, it is a day to reflect on diversity and equality within our workplace and in society more generally.”
Ekaterina Meleshko, BI Developer, Minsk office
“First of all, for me, this day marks the beginning of spring. Tulips are sold in large amounts everywhere. Men in Belarus do their best to create some pleasant moments for women dear to their hearts. Sometimes I think that this tradition of presents and flowers is even more important for men than for us!
“The feeling of spring coming and the positive energy makes you feel wonderful.
“As well as that, if we look back on the world’s history, it is clear just how short the period of equal rights is.
“The importance of this day is a reminder that women didn’t have a right to things that are inherent for us now, such as education, access to a passport, the opportunity to work and so on. We should remember this.”
Marta del Arco, IOS Developer in Mobile & UX, Dublin office
“During the past few years, seeing how many people have come together to celebrate March 8th makes me very happy.
“It’s important to mark a special day on the calendar to honour the accomplishments of amazing women who have paved our way to a more inclusive, diverse and equal society.
“But today is also a day to reflect on the work we still have to do to reach gender parity and on the part that we can play to move forward.”
Zora Vašulínová, Scrum Master, Prague office
“IWD is a day to remind ourselves that there were times when women could not vote, which is unimaginable to me now.
“There are still many problems ongoing and in some parts of the world, they are more grave. However, we are more empowered than ever, more connected, learning from one another across cultures and countries.
“It is quite an honour to be a part of the change, be it in personal relationships or just manifesting my worth through my lifestyle and independence.”
Karolina Filsáková, Product Owner, Prague office
“International Women’s Day reminds me what a really interesting experience being a woman is.
“Being a woman in professions that are more associated with men opens new doors.
“As a woman, you are looking at situations from a different point of view and you can follow a different approach to success than most men.”