The Financial Services and Intellectual Property (FSIP) Programme, a component of the UK’s ASEAN Economic Reform Programme (ERP), the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the two Philippine Fintech associations: Fintech Philippines Association (FPH) and Fintech Alliance.ph, collaborated to organize the Women in FinTech workshop held on 5 May 2021.
Women participating in the ILO's #WOMENOFWSCANDOIT Scholarship Programme were invited to this session and aimed to give returning overseas Filipino workers an insight into what it is like to work in the FinTech industry. Participants of the workshop had the opportunity to hear presentations on what FinTech is all about, what jobs are available, and learn from the experiences of more junior women working in the sector.
One hundred thirty participants dialled into the virtual training session on 5 May. The session was kicked off by an introduction and welcome message from Florencio Sunico, the Regional Director of the Technical Eductaion and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in the National Capital Region.
Following the opening remarks, Dr. Rebecca Shah, Political Counsellor of the British Embassy Manila, provided a keynote speech, highlighting the international focus on gender equality and inclusion. Dr. Rebecca Shah shared the incredible results from the McKinsey & Company (2018) Report where the Philippines ranked #1 in gender equality in work among countries in Asia-Pacific and 16th out of 153 nations in the World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Index 2020.
“Today’s workshop is a welcome demonstration of building inclusivity and widening the access to participate in the Fintech sector. If we manage through the event to inspire one more woman to think about STEM being part of their futures, I can't think of a better outcome," said Dr. Rebecca Shah, Political Counsellor, British Embassy Manila.
Neha Mehta, the FinTech lead of the ASEAN Economic Reform Programme (ERP), introduced some key concepts and trends of FinTech in the Philippines. She addressed some of the challenges that limit the presence of Women in the Fintech space, shared some key insights on starting a career in FinTech and how women can use their strengths to thrive in this sector.
"The Philippines is currently home to more than 190 fintech companies, with lending (24 per cent), payments (21 per cent), digital wallets (12 per cent), and remittances (12 per cent) being the four most predominant spaces," as Neha Mehta, FinTech lead of the Financial Services and Intellectual Property (FSIP) Programme cited.
Neha Mehta joined Nix Syjuco (Unionbank, Fintech Philippines Association) and Sophia Publico (Xendit, Fintech Alliance) in a panel discussion moderated by Amor Maclang, the Executive Director, Fintech Philippines Association. The panelists shared their personal journey in FinTech, their challenges, and how other women have inspired them.
“The Fintech Philippines Association (FPH) is pleased to have had the opportunity to support the next generation of women in tech and provide a support system for graduates of the ILO’s Women in STEM which is a core part of FPH’s advocacy for driving generational sustainability,” shared Amor Maclang, Executive Director, Fintech Philippines Association
Afterward, the participants were placed in breakout rooms with one of the three panellists to ask them anything about a career in FinTech. This gave participants an opportunity to share their own career journeys to date and ask the panelists for more tailored advice for their areas of interest. Participants were particularly interested to hear about growing areas with job opportunities and about working patterns, including remote working.
"There is still a way to go to find our place as woman in FinTech. In order to find ourselves successful as women we need to acknowledge the existing internal biases, take active strides and work together," said Sophia Publico, Xendit, Fintech Alliance
To close the session, Linartes Viloria and Rex Marlo Varona, the National Project Coordinators of the Women in STEM Programme, and the Safe and Fair Programme of the ILO thanked the speakers and reiterated the opportunities available for women in FinTech in the Philippines.
Encouraging women to enter the FinTech industry is high on the agenda for the ILO and TESDA and they will continue to support initiatives expanding the career options and pathways for women in this industry. The increase in online and digital financial transactions in the Philippines is requiring a new set of job skills and therefore there is a great opportunity for women in the Philippines as well as women OFWs onsite or returnees/repatriates to fill this need, develop these new skills and choose a career in FinTech.
The #WOMENOFWSCANDOIT Scholarship is a joint collaboration of the ILO Women in STEM Workforce Readiness and Development Programme, and the ILO Safe and Fair programme with UN Women.
For further information please contact:Ms Linartes Viloria
National Project Coordinator
Women in STEM Workforce Readiness and Development Programme