Feb 9, 2021
Despite experiencing prejudice first hand, India wasn't deterred from building a successful career in fintech.
At Funding Options, we’re committed to creating an inclusive working environment – one that’s free from prejudice and where everybody can thrive.
India McWalters’ experience as a woman in fintech shows us all why we need to confront the gender imbalances we encounter within our industry head on.
India is Funding Options’ longest-serving team member. During her time with us, she's progressed from Junior Business Development Representative to Senior Finance Specialist, and has recently taken her post as our Origination and Development Team Lead.
She enjoys being a 'mother hen' within the business and makes sure everyone in (or outside of) her team is well looked after. While she always wants to help people feel at home, India experienced years of being left ‘outside’ as a young female in the finance industry.
Origination and Development Team Lead, India McWalters
India became aware of the gender imbalances within the finance industry early on. Thinking back to one of her first jobs, she remembers that "there were about 40 people in the business and three were women". However, this imbalance wasn't the only difference.
“Male-dominated, lots of banter, jokes – it can be a very 'laddy' environment.”
As time went on, the way women were treated differently became clearer. "I really started to open my eyes to what the finance industry could be like. It’s often very male-dominated, lots of banter, jokes – it can be a very 'laddy' environment,” she explains.
The most jarring experiences came from networking events.
Despite being one of the top performers in her team consecutively – in fact, she built the “biggest revenue channel in business” – India frequently found herself ignored at events by people who “didn't think I’d know what I was talking about".
Networking events can be anxiety-inducing at the best of times, let alone when you’re trying to persuade others to treat you as an equal and with respect.
India also found that when it came to forging business partnerships, she “had to work 10 times harder to get my foot in the door as opposed to a male”.
“I didn't know I ever had leadership traits in me until working at Funding Options".
However, she is quick to note that lots of individuals, including men, have shown her support throughout her career and treated her with the respect she deserves.
When India joined Funding Options, she admits that her work-life experience changed for the better, not least of all because she longer had to put up with sexism in the workplace.
She remembers joining Funding Options and experiencing it as "an equal playing field where I was treated like a human being rather than a gender, which was very refreshing.”
“Nobody's treated any differently. No one's more favoured than anybody else. You know who your CEO is, but you can speak to him as if he were a normal person because everyone is a person rather than a gender or a role.”
Working in a diverse and inclusive environment has allowed her to thrive. "I've learned lots of different skills and I didn't know I ever had leadership traits in me until working at Funding Options,” says India, who now leads a successful, growing team of Business Finance Specialists and Account Development Representatives.
We can learn a lot from India's experiences; when we strip away prejudice, go beyond gender and treat people like human beings, individuals have the freedom to express who they are and grow in ways they never thought possible.
We hope that these conversations will inspire you to reflect on your own career and start sharing your experiences as a woman working within the fintech industry.
You can also read more about our women in fintech here.
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