Women in Crypto - It's No Longer Just a Boys Club
When the North American Bitcoin Conference was conducted in 2018 in Miami, out of 88 speakers that were scheduled to voice their opinions, only 3 were women. Not only that, the post-conference party took place in a strip club that naturally made the few women present there quite queasy and uncomfortable.
1 in 3 College-educated women don't believe they have equal access to financial opportunities in their respective countries. (Coinbase)
This has been a familiar story - at least in tech. With the absence of women in the technology world, the boys club has become a status quo. According to research carried out by PEW, only 10% women have used or traded a cryptocurrency as opposed to 22% men. The gap widens even further for people aged between 18 and 29 as only 19% women said they have used, invested in or traded digital assets compared to 43% men who have done so.
Millennial women do believe that crypto will play the role of an equaliser - something that has the potential to close the gender gap when it comes to access to financial opportunities.
What Seems to Be the Problem?
Talking about gender disparity in crypto, and technology in general, there is no single issue but a blend of complex problems that have evolved over the years to morph into a culture of intolerance and non-acceptance.
Although there is a diverse range of issues when it comes to challenges hindering women’s way, here are a few that have been the most troublesome.
1. Dominant Lack of Equal Opportunities
Even in the tech field, there are gender prejudices that pervade the workplace. A clear indication of this is the widespread perception that the IT industry is controlled by men.
Looking at the JobsforHer's poll, 8 out of 10 women in tech believe their voices are being silenced at work. This unconscious prejudice impedes females from developing their talents and expertise.
“On one hand, they said that crypto is going to change the financial world. But on the other, I was seeing the same systemic biases from traditional finance playing out in crypto.” - Manasi Vora (Founder of Women in Blockchain (WiB))
2. Gender-Specific Roles and Challenges
A lot of the time, women are forced to put their careers on wait because of inadvertent circumstances. In the case of working moms who have to take a break or whose husband's family is hesitant about the wife's career, this may be observed clearly.
The outcome is a loss of self-assurance while they learn the new set of skills necessary for the position. This lack of self-confidence forces them to underestimate themselves.
3. It All Starts with the Education
At the college and university levels, any prejudice is amplified. A lifetime of doubt about one's abilities might be brought on by educational biases or prejudices shown during learning. PwC's study report, "Women in Tech," has found three major themes throughout its investigation.
- Girls were less likely to pursue a career in science and technology
- Compared to men, women are less likely to pursue a job in technology.
- To encourage more women to pursue technical careers, there is a lack of female role models in the field.
Dismantling Privilege and Taking Back Control
Witnessing the aforementioned issues that continued to plague the technology industry for decades, women are no longer willing to tolerate bias, marginalization, and discrimination. There are many who took the matters into their own hands to start initiatives that have now turned into a movement.
While there are too many to talk about, we have compiled a list of some of the top crypto and blockchain organisations that are causing ripples in the ocean.
1. Black Women Blockchain Council (BWBC)
Founded by Olayinka Odeniran, the BWBC is one of the leading women-led firms in the crypto space. BWBC has entered a partnership with Ethereum software organisation ConsenSys to create and implement an online program that aims to educate and coach 500,000 black women across the globe as blockchain developers.
“I have a 12-year-old daughter, and I’m doing this for her.” - Olayinka Odeniran (Founder of Black Women Blockchain Council)
2. Women in Blockchain (WiB)
Founded by Manasi Vora, Women in Blockchain is a group that was established in 2017 with the goal of simplifying the blockchain ecosystem via educational resources such as a "Beginner's Guide to Blockchain" that includes articles, videos, and podcasts.
3. World of Women
Established by Yam Karkai, The World of Women series of NFTs has custom artwork depicting a variety of female faces in a variety of colours. It has since become one of the most popular avatar series, not only for women but for gamers of all genders.
The collection's items range from $13,000 to $27 million for one lady with green skin and floral earrings, thanks to a number of famous financiers.
4. Global Women in Blockchain
Created by Nina Nichols and Liza Horowitz, Global Women in Blockchain is another organisation that aims to establish and nurture long-lasting partnerships of women who can provide valuable leadership for the promotion, development, and education of blockchain technology.
More than 50 powerful women from all walks of life are included in the BFF founders list, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Mila Kunis and Tyra Banks. In January, the collective held its first "Crypto 101" event, which included instructional panels and urged female investors to take advantage of the estimated $10 trillion Web3 industry.
While we still have a long way to go as an industry, we have asked some of the brilliant women at Coinpanion to describe crypto’s potential to benefit women globally.
It is no secret that the crypto field has conventionally been male-oriented and there has been a glaring absence of women in the arena. Challenges like gender-specific issues, lack of education, and disparity of opportunities have made it difficult for women to breach the juggernaut. That said, all of that has failed to keep them at bay.
They are here and they are announcing themselves with female-led and female-targeted crypto and blockchain initiatives. We're not going to go anywhere without enabling financial independence for everyone. And it's not like women are going to just let it be.
It's time to make the way – for her.