At the panel session of the just concluded second National Fintech Conference in Lagos discussion with focus on “Women Leaders in FinTech: Leadership Challenges and Opportunities at the conference, the Director and Fellow, Information System, Lagos Business School Dr. Olayinka David-West said women are major catalysts that can drive organizational growth and development of fintech companies in Nigeria and across the continent of Africa.
David-West, a digital financial services specialist said that women can help to build a viable fintech company across the company in general, starting from technology development, product development, implementation and products roll-out.
She described women as having unique opportunity and advantage. “They are very close to the market and see things that men don’t necessarily see. They understand things and are more empathetic because they see through different kinds of eyes, through family mindset, because they have that caring mindset”, she said.
She added that when it comes to financial inclusion and product development in fintech, women can make technology more efficient and easily adaptable to the market’s needs and “that is what women can bring to the table” where there is opportunity and a gap.
For women to effectively function at fintech companies, David West said that if women want to play the development and programmatic role, they must be efficient in mathematics, technology, and engineering.
“The good thing is that technology is not about knowing the science alone, it is about knowing the practice. You would find out that most women and girls are now involved in code programming”, she pointed.
The university don also mentioned that cultural stereotype must be broken. In her words, she said, “If someone can do something, that is what they enjoy, that is what they are passionate about, should we stigmatize them that they can’t do this because you are a certain gender? No!
“There are open opportunities for everybody. Let’s take these opportunities. Let’s give women chances because in a business, women will help you grow, women will stay with you, they will not be looking left and right for a better job. That is who women are naturally,” she emphasized.
David-West said that women can grow, stabilize and nurture businesses. According to her, a woman can work at the bank-end of a fintech company while a man can be in the marketing department, selling.
“She can help build organization culture because once you begin to scale as a startup, you need stability. Once investors bring money they want to see who is in your team, not just who you are. This helps men to behave better because you need sometimes somebody of different gender of different mindset”, she explained.