It was a year full of growth and expansion for women in the technology and payments industry in 2017. For many companies, the number of women in tech departments is increasing yearly, and with several growing organizations focused on encouraging further engagement, there’s no sign of this trend slowing. Google estimated last year that 19 percent of their female employees were in technical positions, up from 17 percent in 2016. On a grander scale, 26 percent of the computing workforce today are women. When asked about the future of women in payments, Liz Gombosi, Product Manager at CardConnect, believes it doesn’t come down to gender, but opportunity.
One woman recently acknowledged for her tenacious pursuit of knowledge is Cheryl Nash, president of Investment Services at Fiserv. Nash was just honored with a 2017 InvestmentNews Women to Watch award. She was selected along with 19 others from a group of several hundred women for her impact on the financial services industry. But Nash’s commitment to furthering the payment industry extends beyond her presidential obligations. She also leads the Women in Wealth Management initiative, which is created to attract college-aged women to financial services and wealth management careers.
Nash is an archetype of the tech female today. With such small representation in numbers, the strength of females in the payments industry is elevated through platforms which encourage one another to experiment, develop and and make impacts in the industry. Kirsty Duncan is another notable player in the payments industry, and she’s also the founder and CEO of Women in Payments, a global initiative aimed to bring together female payment innovators in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and the U.K. The initiative kicked off in 2012 in Canada, and also offers global mentorship programs which function to give women a platform and voice in the industry. For example, Duncan recalls almost 70-80 percent of speakers at most payment and technology conferences are male. Women in Payments offers a majority of female speakers at their conferences in order to help minimize the gender gap, and strengthen female presence and visibility.
Monica Eaton-Cardone, co-founder of ChargeBacks911, is an technical innovator who identified a problem in the industry, and took it upon herself to fix. In her early career, Eaton-Cardone was a retail entrepreneur who faced constant heavy chargebacks on card statements. Rather than accepting this aspect as “business as usual,” like many told her, Cardone attacked the problem without any background in technical training. In doing so, she helped develop a program which solved universal issues involving measuring risk and tracking secure payments. This technology is now adopted by many other banks and merchant companies.
The efforts of these women have helped to identify solution gaps in the payment industry, overall adding to the creation of an improved experience for both consumers and retailers. Hanna Fields, Software Engineer at CardConnect, shared her thoughts on how the combined efforts of both male and female colleagues are essential for success.
Another accomplishment worth highlighting is First Data’s recent recognition in Bloomberg’s Gender Equality Index along with roughly 100 other companies. The Gender Equality Index measures gender equality through employee policies, company statistics, external community support and engagement, and gender-conscious product offerings.
The technology industry is one that is constantly evolving, and hopefully in 2018, we’ll continue to see this evolution through an increase in the number of women getting involved in tech all over the world.