Innovative tech industries, as well as top-rated businesses and finance companies, were full of men historically. Car manufacturing, airplanes, IT, management, science – a glass ceiling was everywhere. Now women have more opportunities to get into traditionally men-conquered industries as well as in new ones like cryptocurrency and blockchain. But is this sphere gender-balanced? Not quite.
The real situation
Let’s start with the overall industry info. According to CoinDance, there are only 8.78% of women engaged in the Bitcoin community as of mid-July, 2018. Google and Apple have around 30%-35% female employees, and in this case, Silicon Valley becomes the paradise of tolerance as compared to the crypto world.
Another research performed by Quartz analyzes the data from 378 blockchain projects within the period from 2012 to 2018. Only one startup (0.3%) was run by female founders, while 31 companies (8.2%) had at least one woman in the team. Compare it to 17.7% of all tech brands with a woman as a founder or co-founder, and the difference will be obvious.
Now, what about users? Forbes’ official website lists 19 richest people in the cryptocurrency which are all male. The list includes Vitalik Buterin, Michael Novogratz, and Chris Larsen. And there aren’t Amber Baldet from JPMorgan, Connie Gallipi from BitGive or Catherine Coley from Ripple.
OK, maybe things are different for regular people? MyEtherWallet claims that 16% of account owners are women. It doesn’t impress but there’s one more survey. User loveYouEth from Reddit published results according to which women hold only 4% of ETH on the platform! However, the second research is based on the Reddit users mostly.
Finally, live events reveal the problem. In mid-January, 2018, the North American Bitcoin Conference gathered 4000 participants including 88 speakers. Originally, only one woman was invited as an expert among these 88 persons! After the community was outraged, organizers invited two more female speakers. And, well, the afterparty was held in a strip club…
Overall, it’s clear that the cryptocurrency industry is still men-oriented and sexism is quite common even in such an open-minded community. However, a new trend is emerging slowly.
Ways to involve women
When it comes to “involving”, it’s better to understand why the world needs it. Equality is essential but results are more important for the industry as women offer a new take on almost all aspects, from coding to promotion. Mixed teams work better because they cover interests of different target audiences. The research by Morgan Stanley shows that gender-diverse companies experience 2% higher relative returns than other brands.
Blockchain sphere has no entry barriers as anybody can buy crypto, learn about it, and start working. However, female investors and experts are still a bit afraid of the industry which is full of males. So, what are the options to engage women?
1. Help to dive in
Adbank’s co-founder Kelsey Cole proposed three simple steps:
- Get a crypto wallet to learn more about at least one cryptocurrency;
- Participate in events to build a reputation and boost knowledge;
- Make own research to support both career and investment perspectives.
Phu Styles from Velorum Capital has more progressive vision. She claims that crypto funds and large companies should invest in women-run startups. Governments should also support new projects. Generally, Phu thinks that all who are already involved in the industry should help newcomers to realize what’s going on by sharing their knowledge.
Head of Mogul’s global marketing department, Allie Mullen, also focuses on increasing awareness. She was deeply convinced of crypto complexity and inability to enter the industry. After researching, Allie realized that not only financial analysts or software engineers can prosper in this sphere. This fact takes us to the importance of education.
2. Educate youths
Microsoft’s report on the gender disparity revealed that girls start losing interest to STEM at the age of 15. Further, 60% of survey participants assumed that they could build a career in STEM if they knew about equal opportunities in the industry. That’s why it’s crucial to discuss the role of women in tech spheres that were once wrongly recognized as men-only. History books, industry-specific research, school subjects – education must cover everything.
3. Talk about results
Female leaders who are successful in the crypto don’t want to concentrate on genders. Lightning Labs’ manager Elizabeth Stark stated that women are less likely to get involved because of thoughts that there is no place for female workers. It’s better to focus on the real work of industry leaders and their results. Women desire to become famous because of accomplishments and they don’t want to discuss what it is like to be female, as Elizabeth affirms.
Despite the low women presence, the situation is improving with time. The idea of blockchain with its transparent decentralized nature must break a glass ceiling. Proactive females establish crypto startups, launch live events, and present expert reports.
To name specific communities, there is the “Women in Blockchain” volunteer system which supports female ideas. Also, large platform Mogul has its crypto department which organizes the “Women in Crypto” events.
Other brands start involving women, as well. In March, conference TOKEN2049 sold about 200 tickets with 50% discount for ladies. Later, in April, the University of Berkley conducted a meeting to familiarize students with crypto. Some cryptocurrency exchanges also pay attention to the issue. In addition to advanced features of CEX.IO as an exchange, they operate an insightful blog. One of their articles covers an exclusive interview with the founder of Miss Bitcoin, another successful woman in crypto. Finally, the largest annual event Consensus dedicated a full day to the diversity issues.
Here is the main issue of women presence in the crypto world. On the one hand, women only start to conquer the industry by launching fresh projects and taking leading positions. On the other hand, people speak about genders and focus on whether there are “males” or “females” in the game instead of referring to them as “experts”, “professionals” or “developers”. But the trend is here, so we are certainly to face more cool innovations from gender-diverse teams.