Our journey towards gender equality

Levelling the playing field: the Starling story

Illustration of different women

Women conquering a male-dominated world, challenging the norm and rising up through the ranks is a familiar story at Starling. Our founder, Anne Boden, set up the UK’s first digital-only bank to disrupt an archaic industry and build a business with equality at its heart.

We’re so excited to be named the official national banking partner for the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022, marking a partnership with purpose that celebrates a huge moment for women globally. Our belief is what starts on the pitch will ripple into social change.

A new era is upon us and we’re delighted to be at the forefront of the wave. We’ve been fighting the fight since our inception – it’s been a long time coming:


Making pocket money equal

When does the gender pay gap start, and why? Working with Professor Tim Jay, an educational psychologist at Loughborough University, we discovered that boys get 20% more pocket money every week, while products marketed at girls cost 5% more.

And it doesn’t stop there. Boys and girls earn – and learn – about pocket money in different ways too, which sets them up with different financial literacy skills.

An unequal start for children leads to an unequal future for us all. Let’s Make Pocket Money Equal.

Discover the campaign.


Our gender pay gap figures

Starling’s latest gender pay gap figures (2021), show that the median gender pay gap has decreased from 15.62% to 10.34%, while the mean has narrowed from 21.27% to 16.05%.

These figures don’t mean that women are paid less for equal work than men; they are calculated based on an average of what Starling pays all men and women regardless of their role.

Pay gap reports are published in April, based on figures from the previous April.

Find out more


Women’s EURO

Following the landmark TV deal with the BBC, the Women’s EURO is a huge opportunity to give women players the recognition they deserve and, ultimately, make a wider cultural impact. It’s about equal footing – after all, 61.9% of people who watch women’s football in the UK are men.

What’s more, even though we’ve seen hundreds of Fantasy Football games for men’s tournaments in the past, there has never been one for the UEFA Women’s EURO in the UK. In classic Starling fashion, we decided to do something about it, so we built one!


Workplace Culture

We know it’s important to practice what we preach by investing in women – and this starts with gender equality in the workplace. In 2017, women made up 27% of our senior management team, so we set ourselves a target to increase this to 30% by 2021. We far surpassed that figure – we’re now at 41% – and it keeps getting better.


Women in Tech

We’re partnered with Women in Tech, a recruitment platform that highlights and works with employers who are actively trying to improve their gender equality statistics. Our goal? To encourage more women to apply for roles here – particularly in engineering.


Make Money Equal: Part 2

For the second part of our #MakeMoneyEqual campaign, we analysed over 600 photographs within articles about money and finance in media and advertising. We found that men were mostly shown in control and making financial decisions, whilst women were clutching piggy banks and counting pennies. Something had to change, so we created a free image library that better represented women and money.


Tech for Good

In commissioning a regular independent audit of our algorithms and technological processes, we made sure Starling was fair and free from gender or race bias – across the board. In other words: we wanted to hold ourselves accountable and learn from where we may have missed the mark.


Make Money Equal: Part 1

Through our #MakeMoneyEqual campaign, we highlighted the importance of gender equality in conversations around money and personal finance. By assessing 300 articles, we found that the media often split women and men by language when discussing money: most defined women as ‘splurgers’ whilst men were spoken to like savvy financiers.


Women in Finance Charter

As a digital bank, we operate at the axis of two traditionally male-dominated professions: banking and technology. That’s why we signed the Women in Finance Charter: a voluntary commitment created by HM Treasury and signatory firms to work together to make finance a more gender balanced industry.


Anne’s story

Following a 30-year career at some of the world’s best-known financial heavyweights, our founder Anne Boden defied the odds, made history and broke barriers by becoming the first – and only – woman to launch a bank in the UK. In 2018 she was awarded an MBE for services to financial technology.

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