Celebrating Women at Icon Solutions on International Women’s Day

8 March 2019

Since time began men have been at the forefront of technological innovations and in the finance world, building and establishing themselves as leaders – this culture has made it difficult for the women to stand out and strive for equal greatness within their fields.  That hasn’t changed – a study last year revealed that less than 30% of the UK’s fintech workforce was female. The same also found that only 17% of senior fintech roles are held by women. With Icon Solutions operating in a largely male dominant industry, we are proud to recognise some of the women that are helping put us on the map across the globe and playing a vital role in our success.

Magdalena Rutka, Payments Consultant 

At the dusk of 20th century Poland the Internet was becoming more available and seemed to offer so many possibilities, however in the cohort of over 200 university students studying computer science there were just 4 women, and after the first year she was the only one representing the ladies. With now over 10 years of industry experience, Magda has moved from customer facing financial services roles in Poland to more specialised, technology driven functions, within the payments domain while working in the financial services capitals of Dublin and London.

During her time in payments operations Magda was under the impression that the women held most of the junior to middle management roles. However, while joining project teams she found the opposite to be true. Although from her observation of developers being more often Mr. than Ms., there are more female PMs, BAs, Testers and Architects than when she first started her career. Was it the courage or adaptation that led more women to get involved in technology? What do you think?

Magda said, “The gateway to the industry is controlled by recruitment processes which promote equal opportunities. If we try to recruit female IT graduates our pool is limited due to individual choices.

However, if we change the approach by extending the search, by offering and providing more technical training or mentoring programmes, we have a better chance of attracting more talent. Companies already allow for flexibility in working hours and location. Recently, we have seen so many more female role models in leadership positions contributing towards improvement of cultural perception. Sometimes the transition to more technical roles comes naturally, like it did for me when I moved from operations to fintech.

I know there are more women out there who will join us in these exciting times of payments making our lives easier every day.”

 

Kate Palmer, Principal Architect 

With 20+ years as a consultant under her belt, Kate has worked in a broad range of industry sectors from health to manufacturing. Prior to moving into the Fintech space, she was consulting in the Government sector with roles in Defra, Department for Education, and Department for Transport. In 2011, she was headhunted for a permanent role at Legal and General, leading the architecture function providing governance and solutions for several of their business units.

As a woman, Kate did find that it appeared difficult to have sufficient ‘gravitas’ to be taken seriously in what is still a male-dominated career.

Kate joined Icon as she wanted to return to consultancy, but within a small organisation where her contribution would be appreciated. She also wanted to extend her financial services knowledge to include banking. Her role within Icon is to grow its services offerings within Enterprise and Data Architecture, whilst also undertaking a consulting assignment to support a tier 1 UK bank to deliver a new core banking platform for their Global Corporate and Financial Institution clients.

Kate is glad to say, “Every year I find myself working with a greater proportion of women than the previous one. We need to educate young people that there are rewarding careers in IT that are accessible to everyone.”

Attitudes in the industry are changing, we are seeing more events and forums for women in fintech starting to emerge all over the globe and more and more women are taking up new and diverse roles in the fintech and payments space. We hope to see this continue in the years to come, especially here at Icon!

Katy Press

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