The UK sector alone generates £20 billion revenues annually, and the growth opportunities are global.

Fintech comprises a wide range of activities- from mobile payments and crowd-funding platforms, to peer-to-peer lending and virtual currencies. The raison d’être of fintech-what makes it so appealing and exciting- is the idea that innovation can help to create a more sustainable financial services sector and deliver better services to customers.

Britain is now the epicientre of the fintech movement. It has created accelerator spaces, favourable tax regimes and regulatory policies that supports the ecosystem.  And through the birth of a new industry-wide members organisation, Innovate Finance, launched last month by chancellor George Osborne, fintech now has a collective voice representing the sector.

But what happens when traditional financial services, the technology industry and entrepreneurship convene at crossroads? There is still a stark gap in gender equality and diversity that is necessary for good business practice and successful product development. If fintech is to flourish, we need to make it more inclusive.

A global movement in addressing the gender gap across the technology industry has been gathering momentum in recent years - with government, corporations and start-ups all keen to change the ratio. Studies from Cornell University show that companies with founding female members have increased long-term returns, by up to 30% on average. Ibec research shows that women on boards steer organisations to better financial performance, competitiveness, innovation and corporate governance. Female coders also build products that users love.

Given the clear commercial benefits, why has this not translated into a change in numbers? Research firm Gartner recently published a report showing that the number of CIO has remained stagnant at 14% for the past decade. The number of female entrepreneurs in fintech accelerators, on good years reach 17%. The same problems also prevail.  Pay gaps, the paucity of women on boards, the challenging experiences of women in leadership positions and the lack of flexible working options. Furthermore, we don’t often tell the female success stories in the media, which further deters young girls from entering into the tech industry. We all good need role models.

Things are changing. Female faces are cropping up in London’s fintech scene - and it is our job to support their success so banks, tech firms and customers can all benefit from female talent and perspective.

By highlighting the challenges women face, creating more favourable government policy and celebrating women leadership in this sector can we create a permanent social and cultural shift that levels the playing field for women in technology.

We need to champion the likes of Clare Flynn Levy, the CEO of Essentia Analytics, a platform that leverages behavioural economics to help fund managers improve portfolio performance. Another inspiration is Julia Groves, director of the UK Crowd Funding Association and CEO of Trillion Fund, a crowd-financing platform for renewable energy projects. Louise Beaumont, co-founder of Platform Black, is also a champion of the promise of alternative finance providers. And there are hundred more inspirational women out there who are driving forward progress in this field.

By highlighting the challenges women face, creating more favourable government policy and celebrating women leadership in this sector can we create a permanent social and cultural shift that levels the playing field for women in technology.

Furthermore, initiatives that reach our youth, such as female-driven code clubs, mentoring and angel investing networks are also helping to attract women to tech professions.

Girls – get in touch. There are great resources and opportunities out there for you. Join Innovate Finance if you’re a fintech entrepreneur, and reach out to us to join our women in tech group for starters. It’s about time.

WIT@pivotalinnovations.com