Written By: Swati Bhargava, Co-founder of CashKaro
The corporate world has been a male-dominated space for decades, but things are now changing for the better. Many industries are now giving women opportunities to prove their mettle and take on more responsibilities. While there are many industries that have begun to see the value of onboarding women, Fintech is opening more avenues than ever before.
The fintech industry has made it possible for more women to venture into their own small-businesses and using digital payment services to sell products. The emergence of this sector has paved a broader path that is shaping the future of women in India. In a world that is fixated on getting everything at a lightning-fast speed, Fintech offers customers and businesses respite by reducing turn-around times drastically. My own company operates in the Affiliate Marketing industry and has had several synergies with Fintech companies over the years. In this article, I want to share my perspective on how the Fintech industry is facilitating positive change for women.
The Fintech Landscape in India
The Indian Fintech industry is just two decades old, but its growth here has been remarkable. In fact, a mainstream financial paper had reported that India’s Fintech industry saw an investment of $7.4 Billion in 2019. This was attributed to organizations like Paytm (raised $1billion in November) and RazorPay ($75 Million raised in June 2019). It’s no surprise then that Fintech is the second-highest funded sector in India after eCommerce.
Sub-segments like WealthTech, Lending, Insurance Tech and Digital Payments contribute majorly to the growth of Fintech as well. Payments as a subset of Fintech have had a key role in empowering young women-led businesses by removing the need for physical travel and person to person communication.
As far as Digital Payments are concerned, factors like the launch of real-time payment systems, IMPS and 24*7 inter-bank electronic fund transfers have propelled the growth of Fintech in India. A national investment agency reports that there are 375+payment startups in India, out of which 50% are digital wallets, payment gateways and POS sub-segments.
How Fintech Is Helping Women in India
Occupations involving the trade of money have always primarily been a man’s business. Women were mostly restricted to their homes due to safety and dependency concerns. The Fintech industry has however helped eliminate these issues as this industry is more about going digital. Women now have the freedom to choose their own field and are liberal enough to pursue whatever career they want to. This industry has proved to be a boon for many business owners, especially women who own small businesses. With digitization in the process of payments, they can now accept money easily and without any hassle. Today, transport can be arranged without physically meeting uncouth transport barons, raw products can be procured without physically travelling to intimidating locations and women can run businesses they would never consider in the past.
Fintech is a stellar example of an industry where tech-oriented organizations work together with banks to revolutionize the delivery of financial services. Yet a fine concept like Fintech has a fair share of challenges to sail through. There is still a need to have a diverse workforce and often underrepresented issues like gender biases have to be addressed at the grass-root level. In fact, gender diversity is a concern for many industries.
At CashKaro, we have been taking significant steps to improve the gender ratio and support women reentering the workforce. We are giving more opportunities to women to take up leadership roles along with enabling them to shape their skills. To aid this, I often mentor women across teams where I can pass on as much as possible in terms of knowledge. Other than this we also offer all our employees a chance to learn a new skill while at work. This gives everyone a space to learn something new. During these sessions we have noted that more women are willing to learn about technology and data. I believe that while Fintech has played a pivotal role in empowering aspiring businesswomen, a lot can be done to further the cause. Encouraging participation from women who have a hard-core background in finance, data and technology would be a step in the right direction.
The industry has already seen women lead startups like MobiKwik (co-founded by Upasana Taku), ZestMoney (co-founded by Lizzie Chapman) and Simpl (co-founded by Chaitra Chidanand). Here’s hoping this trend snowballs into a bigger and more conscious effort aimed at opening more avenues for deserving working women.
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