FinTech Luminaries Converge to Foster Gender Equity and Counter Global Warming

When a recent bout of hazy air descended upon New York City, the product of wildfires raging in Canada, it underscored for those within the fintech sector their pivotal part in tackling urgent worldwide challenges such as gender equity, financial inclusivity, and the global climate crisis. These issues are fundamentally linked, with fintech instruments proving instrumental in forging forward in these crucial areas. Experts brought these global concerns into sharp focus during the Making Finance Work For Women Summit held by Women’s World Banking in Mumbai, India.

Leaders from around the globe convened over two days to deliberate on how fintech can bolster women’s financial power, a key move in the battle against climate change.

Financial inclusion empowers women by providing them equal access to resources and opportunities, allowing them to invest in eco-friendly technologies, spearhead green initiatives, and add to climate resilience.

However, the journey is long before access to financial opportunities equates to a surge in female leaders. Currently, women hold only 15% of leadership positions in the finance industry and a mere 11% in the tech industry, occupying roles such as directors, vice presidents, general managers, and executives.

Without immediate and effective interventions, the issue of gender disparity and, consequently, climate change may persist for at least another five generations. “Women are still going to be trailing men when your fifth-generation granddaughter is born,” Mary Ellen Iskenderian, the President and CEO of Women’s World Banking, remarked during the summit. “I simply cannot wait that long.”

The Role of Fintech in Climate Change


In 2022, fintech startups focusing on climate concerns raised $2.9 billion in fresh funding. The increasing interest in climate fintech investments to tackle climate change is heartening, but it could be a while before these fledgling ventures gain traction.

An immediate alternative could be to participate in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing, which aids individuals and institutions in making informed investment decisions. Fintech tools have propelled ESG investing forward, enabling the establishment of gender-focused funds and ETFs that invest directly into firms committed to gender equality.

Investors can employ fintech platforms such as Physis Investment to evaluate potential investments based on their ESG performance, emphasizing gender equality and climate action. Other fintech-driven ESG platforms provide an array of tools and resources, including robo-advisors like Betterment for responsible investing or Women’s World Banking’s Capital Partners Fund which assesses companies’ dedication to gender diversity, pay equity, and female leadership representation, also known as gender-lens investing.

Despite the fintech sector’s support for ESG investing and the benefits it presents, it has its limitations.

Advancements in Gender Equity and Climate Change


A potential pitfall of ESG investing is that it might lead policymakers to erroneously believe that the market can rectify major societal issues such as climate change, overlooking the essential role of government intervention in preventing further climate disasters.

Christina Juhasz, Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer at Emerging Market Funds, Women’s World Banking Asset Management, further added that ESG can sometimes negatively impact returns. “If you cannot invest in fossil fuels or if you’re investing in climate mitigation, you may not see returns,” she stated. “However, this is not a concern for gender-lens investing, as diversity directly correlates with growth.”

According to Juhasz, gender-lens investing (GLI) prioritizes investments in companies founded or led by women, providing products and services that benefit women and those fostering inclusive workplaces.

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