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Representation matters: How women in mortgage tech inspire the next generation – Atkinson

by: Cloë Atkinson, chief operating officer at Mortgage Brain
  • 04/12/2023
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Representation matters: How women in mortgage tech inspire the next generation – Atkinson
20 years ago I was in the minority as a woman in banking. But since then, with the rapid development of FinTech, we’ve seen new, exciting career opportunities for women in tech.

More females are entering the industry as tech developers, digital designers, IT engineers and product innovators, for example. But, despite this, we’ve still a long way to go to make sure that women in tech can carve out a long-term career given that they hold only 11 per cent of all fintech board seats and represent less than 20 per cent of company executives. 

This is where representation matters. When women see other women achieving and innovating, it fuels their ambitions and reshapes their idea of what’s possible. Women inspired by other women drives change and diversity. But to do this, women in tech need to share their real-life career stories so that others can relate.   

It creates a domino effect of: ‘If they can do it, so can I’. 

  

Seeing is believing: The impact of female role models  

It is so important for girls and young women to have relatable female role models.  I remember the excitement when Helen Sharman was announced as the first British citizen to become an astronaut in the 90s.   

She represented endless possibilities for girls who wanted to go to space. She was, quite literally, a trailblazer. Women who have succeeded in tech are all a version of Helen Sharman. We are breaking down the stereotype that tech is a male-dominated industry and we highlight the many paths that women can take in their careers.

When a woman shares her story, she encourages others to follow, showing that the tech world, whether it’s in mortgages, banking or something totally different, is not just inclusive but also enriched by their presence. 

  

Raising our voices 

Women aren’t great at promoting their achievements, according to multiple studies. We undersell ourselves, which is no good for career progression. In the mortgage and tech industries especially, I suspect we are particularly quiet about how successful we are. This needs to change. Women making their voices heard isn’t just about gender equality; it’s about bringing different perspectives to the table. 

It’s crucial for women in tech to speak up, share their ideas, challenge norms, and contribute to critical decision-making processes. By raising our voices, we help to shape a more inclusive and dynamic tech landscape. 

  

Championing female recruitment 

Employers have a key part to play in helping more women find a career in this industry. I am so passionate about this that I now insist that one in three CVs that are sent to me from recruiters are from female candidates. I also don’t believe that traditional interview situations are the best way for women to showcase their talents (as women undersell themselves, remember). So, all candidates are given a virtual skills exercise to complete which shows me how well they can do the job.   

I am proud to say that I have a talented, truly diverse team of amazing tech pros who do a brilliant job at Mortgage Brain. Employers must actively support female recruitment by creating inclusive hiring policies, offering mentorship programmes, and ensuring a workplace environment where women can thrive.

By doing so, employers don’t just champion gender diversity; they foster a culture that values diverse perspectives. 

  

Mentorship 

I love being a mentor, seeing other women grow in confidence and strike out on their career path. As a woman looking for a career in tech, having a mentor can be a gamechanger. Mentors provide guidance, share insights, and they can open doors to opportunities. It’s about today’s leaders helping to shape tomorrow’s innovators, which is exciting. There are a number of organisations available to women looking for a mentor in mortgages, finance and tech, such as Working in Mortgages, Women In Banking and Finance or Women In Tech. 

Making this industry more diverse and inclusive is the responsibility of us all. Women must share their success stories to lead the way for younger generations. Employers need to create environments where women in tech and finance can flourish, and mentors can guide and inspire those starting on their career path. When we prioritise representation in tech and finance, we don’t just lift women; we drive the industry towards a future rich in diverse thought, innovation, and boundless potential.  

Join Cloë on Wednesday 6 December to hear about her career story as part of the Women Who Code panel event, Digital Transformation: Stories from Experts to Empower Your Career https://bit.ly/47PKLA2  

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