Women in Tech

Blog· 5min December 11, 2019

Change is overdue

Until quite recently, I’d never properly internalised the need to be an advocate for women in the Fintech workplace. However, as a C-level Exec almost 20 years into my career, I often still find myself as the only woman in the room.

That said, society and the world of work has come a long way and it is great to see exciting movements to encourage girls to study STEM subjects and women to start careers in finance and technology. ‘Relatively’ there has been phenomenal growth in young women choosing education and careers in the ‘male dominated worlds’ of finance, trading, M&A, coding, architecture, software developers and so on. However inside and outside of the workplace huge inequalities still exist in all kinds of areas, whether it’s education, political engagement, access to family leave, health or income. The gender gap is still too big, which is why we at Form3 are now actively committed to increasing gender diversity in our organisation and across our industry.

Why we have a male gender equality champion

Looking at our management team it may well seem odd for us here at Form3 to have a white British male championing gender diversity, especially with two women sitting on the management team. But I see this as a great thing, and one of the very reasons I enjoy working as part of the Form3 management team. Gender diversity is not a women’s issue, it’s an everyone issue, and this management team understands that.

Men still hold most of the decision-making authority in financial services and technology in the UK. Ensuring they become allies and join the journey to gender equality is key, so we are very proud to have a male leadership team so passionate about making changes in our industry as well as a champion leading our efforts at Form3.

As a society, we have often made gender equality a women’s issue, even though it is a critical economic issue affecting everyone. Recognising this, the Form3 approach to gender equality results from men in our company wanting and needing to be part of the solution rather than targeted as the problem. We’re all on this mission together to create an organisation and an industry that is far more representative of the UK population than it is right now. Rest assured that it’s the whole management team at Form3 – all 2 women and 4 men of us – that will be judged and ultimately rewarded on our success.

We’re stepping up

For me, equality isn’t an option, it’s a right. We know we can’t change the world on our own, but we’re happy to give it a try!

We’re beginning our gender diversity mission with three values in mind that help to guide everything we do.

The first is caring deeply. Our company values take pride of place over the wall in our London office and act as a great visual but actually, we don’t need much reminding of what is important to us. Caring deeply is our top value and is engrained in absolutely everything we do.

The second is completeness. We absolutely do not just want to make a token effort or surface level changes to champion diversity. We have big initiatives underway to educate, invest, recruit and retain. Of course, we would love to bring more women into our business, but for us, it’s also about the bigger picture. It’s about encouraging more girls to study STEM subjects, supporting opportunities for girls to code, providing a place to work that is conducive to the success of each and every person in the company and much more than that.

We’ve just set up a coding club at Form3 for non-engineers who want to better understand and learn coding.

Thirdly is transparency and accountability. We won’t profess to having these amazing gender diversity targets where our organisational gender split suddenly becomes 50/50. We are aiming for a 20/80 gender split by the end of 2020 and an internal leadership split of 30/70. Appreciate, this may not sound mind blowing, but this is a significant improvement on our current employee make up and is one (very important) step towards a much bigger goal for not only Form3, but for the fintech industry as a whole.

Written by

Eimear O'Connor Chief Product Officer

Eimear is Form3’s Chief Product Officer with responsibility for product strategy, development and management. She joined Form3 as Chief Operating Officer in 2017, managing all aspects of business and service operations. Eimear has worked and consulted within financial services organisations on strategy, product and operations for over 20 years. She joined from Barclays where she was Retail and Commercial Product Director for Pingit, responsible for the global development and commercial management of the retail customer base for this award-winning open market payments platform.

Prior to this, Eimear led the Corporate Mobile Payments Product Team at Barclays where she was responsible for the product design, development and launch of the Barclays Pingit for corporates product set. She has also held positions including Vice President of Strategy at Visa Europe and Business Consultant at both BearingPoint and Capco, working on multiple assignments in the UK and globally.