The global gender gap, the World Economic Forum tells us, is unlikely to close in the next 100 years unless a drastic change is undertaken. With the onset of a global pandemic, this timeline is being further extended. My team at Ziina are jumping in to bridge the gap.
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Dedicated focus to onboarding female-led businesses to ‘Ziina for Business’ is one example of how priorities are set at our Y-Combinator-backed company. Ziina also targets women via authentic marketing campaigns with an emphasis on storytelling, as well as product features that allow for easy onboarding of one’s friends and community. Such product features include an intuitive invite flow and the ability to express oneself via a fun note, image, or GIF. Today, the result is a user base that is composed of 40 per cent of women.
Where Ziina sets itself apart on true action is its focus on building not only an inclusive economic ecosystem but a representative one too. Ziina’s entire product team is made up of women.
Recognising that digital and financial inclusion are two of the key drivers for women’s economic empowerment and agency, Ziina set itself on a journey to herald a new age of finance in the Middle East, an age where the traditionally underrepresented or overlooked individual can gain access to user-friendly financial services within minutes. Whether it be mom-and-pop shops, newly emigrated people or women and men alike, Ziina allows the individual to be a part of the financial collective.
Both the finance and technology space have historically been dominated by men, but Ziina’s focus on developing a gender-inclusive fintech solution is the germination of something different. Enhanced access to funds grants control over economic gains and the power to make financial decisions.
In our early days at Ziina, we identified that one of the barriers to having control of one’s financial destiny was the simple task of being able to send and receive payments seamlessly – to pay back a friend, support a relative, receive payments for services or goods provided, or receive a tip. As it turns out, in the Middle East, this task isn’t so simple. What’s beautiful about the product we’re building at Ziina is that it addresses a real problem that is tangibly felt by many. With Ziina, all that is needed is a phone number.
Women are paving the way for a new style of leadership that is confident, authentic, and highly effective. Our head of operations, Rawan Dgheim, says: “Ensuring diversity and inclusion is critical to the success of our company. We are embedding these values very early on at Ziina, to build a strong foundation that brings the best mix of talent from both women and men. It’s only then, with this diverse team, that we can build the future of finance”. When an inclusive directive comes from the top, and one that is set with intention and shared experience for the mission, results tend to follow.”