Much like the tech industry as a whole, gender disparity within the crypto space is a hotly contested topic and a big issue. Yet, things are changing for the better, with more and more female CEOs of Blockchain based start-ups emerging and leading the way, despite the pushback and negative attitudes from many men.
As much as they’d like to be accepted, encouraged and supported by the majority of men within the industry, women are no longer waiting around for it to magically happen. In fact, this resistance is something that is actually driving many women to overcome the barriers to entry and prove that women are just as capable as men of having innovative ideas, being successful and strong leaders.
This screw you attitude is particularly prevalent in Asia, where the prejudice against women in crypto is strong. Take Yuree Hong for example, a Marketer specializing in blockchain based in Singapore, who after being told by a prominent male CEO that women would “never be able to make it”, based purely on gender bias, set up a now hugely successful and thriving community called S/HE Blockchainers.
She’s just one example of the many women today who are fighting and paving the way in the industry for gender equality. According to Hong, it’s not a matter of a lack of women out there, it’s just that they’re not being given many opportunities to voice their opinions or share their knowledge.
It doesn’t help that many events organized by men center around female marginalization and objectification à la Moe Levin, a prominent investor who organized an after party in a strip club for a Bitcoin Conference in Miami of this year, with body painted female models in underwear as entertainment.
However, this type of blatant sexism is doing little to deter women in crypto. In fact, many are choosing to boycott these events and set up their own instead.
Hong, like many others, invites only women to give talks at her events, proving that there are in fact a plethora of highly qualified, interested and enthusiastic women interested in the space, who not only want to have their say, but deserve it too.
In fact, due to her female only approach, more and more women have now been encouraged to participate in cryptocurrency themselves, not only as founders of startups, investors or developers but also as consumers, which in turn, is helping to shape and develop the space in new and exciting ways.
This all goes to show, that women supporting women is a crucial factor in changing the shape of the industry. It’s women, not men, that will shatter the rhetoric and preconceived notions of what women “can and can’t do”.
And although it’s good to highlight the gender disparity issue and talk about trying to change the narrative, it’s action and female empowerment that will create the biggest waves.
Thankfully, we’re headed in the right direction. More and more education programs and data-sharing initiatives are now being offered, like Women Who Code. Grass roots initiatives focused on encouraging and nurturing girls’ interest in crypto and Blockchain are being planned and implemented. Advice and practice for women on financial management at Universities is emerging.
And thanks to the internet, especially sites like YouTube, women are seeing and learning first hand from other women that crypto is not only “cool” but accessible, and indeed, necessary for the future.
In fact, as attitudes are beginning to change thanks to strong and determined female activists across the globe, women are now discovering the independence and financial freedom that cryptocurrency can provide.
This in itself is hugely important in countries where women are still oppressed and lack access to money. In Saudi Arabia for example, a woman cannot get a business loan without two men who can testify for her character. Moreover, many womens’ money is controlled by their husbands or brothers; something that cryptocurrency, due to its anonymity, could help in liberating them.
As more and more women are getting involved in the crypto space, they are encouraging not only their peers, but younger generations; challenging traditional gender career paths and positions of power. It’s an exciting time to be a woman and a massive opportunity to disrupt and change the face of not only the current financial system, but attitudes towards women in male-dominated industries in general.
But it takes hard and consistent work. Leading by example, spreading awareness and encouraging exploration and experimentation will be the keys to success. As Jay Shetty, an ex-monk and highly successful motivational speaker says, “We can’t become what we can’t see”.
Personally, I’m positive about the future for women in crypto, thanks to the powerful, hard-working and inspirational female role models already making major waves in the space.
We just need more of them.