FinTech Australia’s annual awards will now include a female fintech leader of the year category, the industry body announced this week.
“Unfortunately, the latest figures show that women are under-represented in our industry, particularly in leadership roles,” said FinTech Australia chief executive Danielle Szetho. “Australia has a number of excellent female fintech industry leaders and we are keen to reward and recognise one of these leaders.”
FinTech Australia cited figures from an Ernst & Young report in November that showed only 13% of fintech leadership positions in Australia are held by women, while just 22% of all employees in the fintech industry was female.
In the broader startup industry, 47.5% of companies in Australia had no fulltime female employees, according to the 2016 Startup Muster report.
“We hope this award will help highlight the great work of women in our industry and therefore encourage more women to get into fintech either as company founders or employees,” Szetho said.
The ceremony for the inaugural FinTech Australia awards, or “Finnies”, will be held on May 24, with nominations accepted until April 21 for the 30 award categories.
“These are the first fintech industry-backed awards to be held in Australia and will help us showcase our best industry trail-blazers as well as the most exciting emerging ventures and talent,” FinTech Australia president and boss of venture capital firm Reinventure Simon Cant said.
Government agency Jobs for NSW is sponsoring the first two editions of the awards, which also includes a “best workplace diversity” category to support promote an inclusive culture in the fintech industry.
The Fold Legal founder and Finnies judge Claire Wivell Plater welcomed the addition of the female leader award, saying there was no reason why startups could not recruit more women despite shortages in some skills areas.
“Although fewer women have STEM backgrounds at the moment, the Startup Muster report amply demonstrates that fintech companies need skills in a broad range of areas, in many of which women are well represented,” she said.
Szetho said that nominations can be made without the nominee’s advance knowledge, encouraging the industry to “come forward and nominate women who have made a difference”.
FinTech Australia was formed in November 2015, with its management committee appointed at the first annual general meeting on March last year. Szetho was appointed as chief executive last June.