Women in crypto
I’ve had numerous conversations with women in the cryptocurrency industry discussing the gender bias we encounter. The common experiences we’ve shared have encouraged me to write about these issues publicly to let other women in the industry know that they are not alone. I want to create more awareness of these issues and start a discussion on the ways we can all work together to improve. We are building completely new global networks and financial systems so in order for them to be effective for everyone, we need to make sure that everyone is included. Gender is only one aspect of diversity and will be the focus of this post.
The following list contains interactions that I have personally experienced multiple times at crypto events and female colleagues have shared with me their experiences in facing these commons issues as well. Instances where a man:
- introduces himself to the men in a group but ignores the women
- makes eye contact with the men while speaking and ignores the women
- asks a woman if she is a plus one at the event
- acts surprised to discover a woman knows about cryptocurrencies
- comments on the woman’s appearance rather than what she is saying
Note that these are also experiences that many women in the wider tech space and other male-dominant industries have to deal with, not just within the crypto industry (two great posts by Leila and Andy sharing their experience).
Things you can do
It’s important to recognize that this is a problem and work towards making improvements. Here are several things you can do to help:
- If you notice a woman (or anyone) being disregarded, please make them feel included. This can be as simple as introducing someone if you noticed they were ignored or asking that person a question to bring them into the conversation (e.g. how they got interested in crypto, what are they excited about in the space).
- Call out someone when they are being blatantly sexist.
- Increase diversity at crypto events. One awesome example I saw was that Blockstack Summit reserved discounted tickets for underrepresented groups. This was one of the only crypto events I attended where I actually had to wait for the women’s restroom (good thing)! It’s equally important to have a diverse representation of speakers at the event. There are many talented female speakers in crypto so it’s not a valid excuse to say there aren’t any.
- Follow and share the work of these amazing women who work in the crypto space or write about it (among many others). This raises awareness of their work and might even encourage others in the space to share their knowledge too. Sarah Hody (Perkins Coie), Laura Shin (Forbes), Kathleen Breitman (Tezos), Jill Carlson (Tezos), Carolyn Reckhow (ConsenSys), Maria Gomez (Aragon), Neha Narula (MIT Media Lab), Amber Baldet (JPMorgan), Meltem Demirors (Digital Currency Group), Lily Liu (21), Tess Rinearson (Chain), Elizabeth Stark (Lightning), Nathalie McGrath (Coinbase), Kathryn Haun (Coinbase board), Anastasia (University of Waterloo), Paige (Zcash), Andy Coravos (Elektra Labs), Galia Benartzi (Bancor), Angela Tran Kingyens (Version One Ventures) as well as the women listed in this thread, interviewed in Meltem’s Women in Blockchain series, and listed in Tays Fave Women.
This list is not nearly comprehensive so please feel free to share in the comments section your experience, ways to help out, and other women in the crypto space to follow (open for everyone to contribute).