Hello Mark, How are you?
Very good thanks.
Why is International Women’s Day important to you and how do you celebrate it?
It’s important to celebrate International Women’s Day not only to change the status quo, but to make sure future generations are growing up in a completely equal world.
I have two children – a boy and a girl - so for me I want to ensure both have every opportunity to follow their dreams regardless of gender and that’s what International Women’s Day is all about.
Which woman inspired you the most growing up?
It would have to be my Aunt, Angela Bamford, a 90-year-old woman with a wild dress sense and bright blonde hair. She was confident and outrageous fun with an incredible presence in the room and had every man she met wrapped around her little finger. They didn’t stand a chance!
Tell us about the woman that has helped you the most in your career and why.
A highly entrepreneurial lady called Christiane Wuillamie. I was lucky enough to join her start-up IT management consultancy fresh out of university, when there were probably no more than 10 employees.
Completely self-funded, she grew it to over 250 employees with offices in the Far East, US and UK.
She taught me numerous life lessons including; nothing good in life is ever easy, mistakes are good as long as you learn from them and the fact that you should always take responsibility for your actions whether good or bad.
Fintech is still a predominantly male industry, why do you think that is the case?
Given numerous pieces of research that show that in many households women control the purse strings and budgets, it’s a shame that many fintechs (Neyber being an obvious exception) are still heavily male dominated.
Maybe that’s because, as the name suggests, fintech is the offspring of two male dominated industries (financial services and technology).
Luckily it feels like the tide is turning with the likes of Monica Kalia, our founder and CSO, and others such as Anne Boden of Starling and Gemma Godfrey of Moola taking top positions.
Is there enough being done to promote women in the workplace and within Fintech?
I think there’s more to be done across the board, including encouraging more girls to study STEM subjects at young age (STEM being science, technology, engineering and mathematics). I think there’s a still tendency towards emphasising different skills sets for each gender, and the sooner this changes the better..
We’ve all got our different strengths no matter who we are, and we need to encourage children to take whatever avenue works best for them.
And how can we continue to improve gender equality in the workplace?
We can only affect change by getting serious about addressing the work life balance for women, tackling gender perceptions at the very beginning and offering equal pay opportunities.
It’s great to highlight these issues in the media but until there’s systematic and structural change, gender equality will continue to falter.
Why do you think that it’s important to teach the next generation about gender equality?
Simply because in 2019, the fact that we don’t already have gender equality is shocking. We need to keep doing whatever we can to make sure that we’re making some real, actionable changes in a move towards gender equality.