At the North American Bitcoin Conference held in 2018, out of the 88 speakers present, only 3 were women. Therefore, it was clear that blockchain had a pretty obvious diversity issue back then. However, a lot has changed in the last couple of years .
Today, there are several companies and non-profit organisations in the crypto space that are headed by women. This wave of inclusiveness is beginning to pick up steam, and the timing couldn’t get any better.
Web 3.0 has burst onto the scene, with several companies diving into the metaverse and venture capital flooding in from all directions. As the latest evolution of the internet and the next frontier of digital innovation, women must have an equal say in the Web 3.0 decision -making process.
And to spread awareness about inclusiveness in the decentralised ecosystem, the ongoing World Economic Forum included a panel discussion on “Why Web3 Needs Women at the Forefront”.
The panel included speakers like Meta VP Nicola Mendelsohn, CEO of the Global Blockchain Business Council Sandra Rao, Harvard Business School’s Sarah Endline and Bill Wright, Head, Government Relations at Splunk.
The panellists spoke of the contribution of women to the nascent space Web 3.0 space. Bill Wright, who was the only male panellist, said “I think web3 by nature aims to be an inclusive environment, and more diverse people involved would result in better outcomes . By research, it has been proven that diverse groups focused on a problem will come up with a better solution.”
Sandra Rao also remains optimistic about the whole situation panning out. “I am very bullish on women’s future. We are in an era of collaboration irrespective of borders and countries. We need to support women entrepreneurs from all walks of life,” she said.
Nicola Mendelsohn quipped that aliased Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto could be a woman. “I mean, we all assume it’s a man, right? Is that our bias? It’s just a name — it could well be a woman,” she said, driving her point.
The panellists concluded that there had been a significant increase in women’s representation in the decentralised world. They also hoped to see that proportion growing in the future.
Even prior to the WEF 2022, there have been several conversations around the inclusion of women in the blockchain, Web 3.0 and crypto ecosystems. In an interview with Cointelegraph on Women’s Day, Sandy Carter, Sr. VP at Unstoppable Domains (a blockchain domain name firm), said that Web 3.0 presents a lot of opportunities for women to make their mark as it is still a development-intensive segment.
She also mentioned that her previous stint at Amazon Web Services brought a few things to her attention. “As I transitioned to Unstoppable Domains, I was disappointed in Web2 and how much lack of diversity I found. Oftentimes 20 percent of the room would be women at conferences. It has also been shown that less than 5 percent of entrepreneurs in the Web2 space are female. This was mind-blowing,” said Carter.
In order to address this issue, Carter said that Unstoppable Domains fostered relationships with 66 firms in the Web 2 and Web 3 spaces to launch the “Unstoppable Women of Web3” initiative. It is a dedicated group created to educate new entrants about diversity in the web3 space. She also added that global giants like Google Cloud and Deloitte have also offered their support towards the same.
“I do think there is potential for women to enter Web3, but education is still required. For instance, if women look at a Web3 job offering and only meet certain criteria, they may not apply. So, we are trying to break this down ,” she explained to Cointelegraph.
A recent study by blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis revealed that India stands 2nd out of 154 countries when it comes to crypto adoption. However, the male-female ratio is skewed at 17:3, which means there are only three women investors for every 17 male investors. Moreover, the Indian crypto exchange CoinDCX pointed out earlier this year that only 15 percent of the total investor base in India were women.
Sandra Rao highlighted this fact at the WEF 2022. She raised concerns over the lack of women in the crypto trading space. “While NFT domain has seen a great proportion of women participants but crypto trading certainly concerns me because of the lack of women representation, ” she said.
The representation of women in Web 3.0 was also discussed at YourStory’s Metaverse Summit held in March 2022.
“While women are significantly underrepresented in the Web 3.0 universe, we need to understand that this is an engineering movement. So, the problem arises with the fact that there are fewer women engineers. The gender ratio is already skewed towards men. And a smaller group of women enter the web3 world,” said Kaavya Prasad, COO of Lumos Labs, at the roundtable discussion.
“Many women don’t stick to engineering, and there are multiple reasons, subtle sexism, biases, or overall peers discouraging them. It is important to encourage women to continue with engineering,” she went on to explain.
(Edited by : Priyanka Deshpande)
First Published: IST