In October, we released the first part to our mini-series on women within fintech, particularly Unlimint. After stating the obvious that we still see a gap with women in STEM careers, our fantastic Chief Marketing Officer, Nadia, shone some light on the industry and advice to aspiring individuals. In the continuation of our blog series, we bring to you our next interview from Brazil with our ambitious Country Head, Adrili Sato.
What causes a gap in STEM careers?
Before we delve into the juicy conversation, it’s important for us to understand what is causing the underrepresentation of women in financial and tech services. It has been addressed that the number of girls leaving school who are prepared to engage in science and engineering majors in further education, are relatively equal to boys. During further education, this number of females depletes, leaving a smaller number after graduation, with only approximately 20% obtaining a bachelor’s degree in STEM subjects. This number then drops further as we look forward to the workplace.
Why? It has been demonstrated that social expectations hinder girls’ aspirations for STEM careers over time. Research showed that negative stereotypes about girls’ capabilities in mathematical and scientific subjects results in a recognisably lower test performance. Additionally, cultural impact bears a similar consequence, as girls who grow up in an environment which condescends the prospect of girls striving for success, will most likely deter them from considering those fields.
Historically the disparity in men and women within STEM careers has been associated to a biologically driven difference in capabilities and interests. As we mentioned in the first Females in Fintech piece, women have transcended these assumptions, and proven otherwise. Many professionals who have addressed the vast gap in male to female ratio within science and technologies, have concluded that there is a systemic problem which continues to inhibit women. These elements span beyond social expectation, including elements such as the gender pay gap, cultural traditions and lack of education for young girls. Contrastingly, whilst several women remain in alternative fields, or more junior roles within STEM industries, there is a visible increase in closing the gap. Higher education and exposure to working environments is often a positive driving force for many women. These opportunities have been seen to offer females guidance with introductory courses, mentorship schemes and effective policies. A domino effect takes place in thriving environments – higher retention rates, women progressing to senior roles, employment of more women, upskilling of women and much more.
With that in mind, Unlimint presents Females in Fintech II, a conversation with Adrili.
What was it that appealed to you about fintech as a career choice?
After around 20 years working with the oldest companies on the financial market, I was keen on moving into a fintech. I wanted to transition to the industry because I knew that fintech’s modern mindset would welcome the implementation of ideas from a woman. As a knowledgeable, young woman, I felt this was the right moment to make this move and, I can guarantee that it was the best thing I did in my professional life. In a fintech, like Unlimint, we can put our entrepreneurial side ahead of gender, and watch ideas flourish.
How long have you been with Unlimint, and what about the company has inspired you to stay?
I am a relatively new employee, in comparison to some of the others’ length of service. Despite the dynamic structure of Unlimint, we have what resembled a flat organisational structure and have the advantage of being super close to our Global CEO. The key here is that besides having the responsibility of growing a country, it is that our leader empowers us to drive this growth. We are given the opportunity to show our ideas and implement them, and are respected based on our work, rather than gender-based approach.
As an individual, what has been the highlight of your career so far?
Being able to build up successful banks and financial institutions across the globe. I had the advantage of building companies from scratch, up to its development into profitable institutions in the early stages of my career. I’m a true seeker of great opportunities and capable of having a future vision of the growth of the different institutions I was part of.
How do you think we can combat the lack of confidence young girls and women have about joining STEM careers?
Before anything, girls and women need to see how important they are, and that being a female is not a negative thing in any respect. Women are extremely capable, we have the advantage of being emotionally aware, perceptive and strong (both in spirit and physically). Emotional strength is not to be underrated, because it allows us to put ourselves into the shoes of another, which is valuable when cultivating business relationships.
Being a woman, a female, is being transcendent and having the ability to function on several things at once. Whilst there are numerous physical ways in supporting the confidence of females, I believe that the crux of combatting lack of confidence can be diminished by uplifting each other. When we feel that we are the best version of ourselves, we are unstoppable. Women in general are incredibly resilient and opportunistic. If we can help them realise it, they will conquer all their desires.
With the ever-evolving landscape of the fintech world, what advancements are you excited to see?
Cross-border advancements will make our world limitless and frictionless. There is nothing, as of today, that can limit the growth of any business. There may continue to be boundaries, but there is also a method to overcome each one. We will see the growth of cross-border payments and also the growth of our merchants on “Unlimint” payment ways/methods. It is a nonstop trend!
What advice would you give to women who would like to work in the world of fintech?
You need to believe you are perfect for this thriving world of fintech. Flexibility and a thirst for growth are key attributes for any individual to join the rapidly advancing industry. Fintech is financial technology, but there is also a need for creativity that people can overlook. Women can add the creative value which the fintech world needs to survive. The resilience that we, as women, are born with, is one of the core values within the fintech market.
Country Head (GM), Brazil