23 Things That Must Be Done To Engage More Women Into The Blockchain Space

We have a crypto “bro culture”. Here is how we can change that…

Authority Magazine
Dec 26, 2018 · 13 min read

The stats say that women own just 5% of the market cap for cryptocurrency, and have represented just 8.5% of people on the founding teams of blockchain companies over the last 6 years. This is such a huge under-representation of women. What can be done to correct this?

Here are 23 ideas about what we can do to engage more women in the blockchain space.

Featuring women

Featuring women that are doing great thinks in the industry is a great first step. We need mentors and role models to know that women are welcome and are succeeding. It’s not just about blockbros anymore! — Elizabeth White

True interest in the subject

Education and true interest in the subject. If we want to be accepted, admired, and achieved, we have to put ourselves out there.

Sometimes I ask the dumbest questions to the BP’s and Dapps (Block Producers and Development application developers), but I shrug it off and listen. I learn, I saturate and I regurgitate. I just get in. I don’t think about it. I just do it.

This is not a time to be scared. It’s a time to be viciously vulnerable with your fears, and like Brene Brown says, “Dare Greatly” to get in the arena. “F” it if you have questions. Ask. In the end, they’re not paying your bills. You are. But, do it with class, sass and sophistication because you’ll be remembered for your behavior and you’ll be revered for your can do it attitude. — Nicole Jolie

More visible women

We need to have more women be visible in the space. That’s why these articles are so great because they let other women know that there are women in this space and that women are wanted in this space. You don’t have to be technical to be a part of blockchain. As long as you’re curious, interested and willing to learn, anyone can get into the space. — Cynthia Huang

More real use cases

I think real use cases will force all people into the space eventually. When something makes your life easier, it becomes obvious. Its no different than a cell phone, or any great technology. People will embrace what makes life better. Its our job in the blockchain to speed this adoption. — Jessica Higgins

The industry has work to do to create a less exclusive ecosystem

I think this is a chicken-egg situation. On one hand, women needs to stick their neck out there. They need to engage in the industry, go to conferences, network, and become thought leaders. I’ve personally tried to hire women into my company but even when presented with an offer, some women have been reluctant to make the jump. On the flip side, the industry has work to do to create a less exclusive ecosystem. I can’t tell you how many times in the blockchain and crypto industry I’ve heard of conferences or events with official parties at strip clubs or all male panels or scantily clad russian models in bikinis walking around. That is the opposite of an inclusive environment.

I’m also starting to become disenchanted with the ‘women in blockchain’ panel at conferences. The panels are a good thought, but women in blockchain are able to hold their own and sit on any panel — not just get relegated to the ‘women’s panel’ (which is also when all the men walk out the room and network outside instead). I’m now more reluctant to sit on ‘women-in-blockchain’ panels unless the conference organizer also asks me to sit on a substantive panel — Amy Wan

Women grow when they can learn and converse with other women

Women grow when they can learn and converse with other women who speak their language. Ideally the more women who are involved, the greater the opportunity. We need a mix of genders in any profession, but it’s great to be surrounded by other women to support our growth. If we make a concerted effort to include women in this budding industry, there will be such growth. — Debbie Hoffman

Reminders that women are just as capable technically

Women get painted with the broad brush of being “not technical” and more adept at “soft skills.” It’s unfortunate, but that message is still pervasive within society, and it affects us — both internally and externally. Much more is being done at this point in history to try to change that external stereotype and to increase the opportunities that are available to women, but the paucity of visible examples of women leading companies in technical fields decreases the likelihood of other women aspiring to that path. Articles like this one both serve as reminders to people that women are just as capable technically, and also hopefully provide inspiration to women to dream outside the box. Don’t ever let anyone else write your story. It is yours alone to write, and if you have the passion and inspiration, don’t allow anyone or anything to make you feel inferior and silence your voice. — Nicole Biernat

Respect

The same as is required in the rest of technology industry — respect. Many people focus on how to ‘get women to study STEM’ or ‘get women to stay in STEM’ — the answer is quite simple, it is not about giving women a voice — it is often about getting men to shut up long enough to listen.

Ultimately, I think we will see a sea change in how many women apply to — and stay — in STEM when we have daughters who think “I want to be an engineer just like Mum”. It requires treating the current generation of women with respect in order for them to want their daughters to do engineering. I think that the level of aggression and bad behaviour over the last decades towards women in technology has led to the reduced number of women pursing it as a career. If you — as a mother — have been treated badly in an industry because you are a woman would you really encourage your daughter to follow such a career path? I think we have seen the answer — STEM has a very bad reputation and it’s something that we all need to work to address. — Dr. Catherine Mulligan

Education is key (Part One)

I think education is key right now, with solid mentorship programs. Connecting with and reaching out to young women, supporting STEM programs that feature blockchain, or developing new programs at all levels. I’m also a big fan of the STEAM over STEM concept. I think “arts” needs to be included because creativity is truly important in a field with so many possibilities. Also, I’d encourage women to seek out non-traditional job title roles for women in tech: learn to code, or do security systems, etc. — Beth Farnham

Education is key (Part Two)

I believe education is key. Unless you are involved in the space, it can be confusing to understand how we can make a different in the Cryptocurrency Blockchain space. Mass media doesn’t help. It often paints an unappealing picture of the Blockchain industry. Let’s not be shy and continue sharing the amazing projects we are working on to mute general negative opinions. — Luna Vega

We need to tell more stories about the incredible minds in the space that just happen to be female

The actress Geena Davis started a Gender in Media Institute with the idea of “if she can see it, she can be it.” The organization advocates for media to tell more stories about women and girls in roles of influence. I think the same thing applies here — we need to tell more stories about the incredible minds in the space that just happen to be female so that others can see that this space is being built by both women and men. — Alison McCauley

Do not need “Women in Blockchain” panel discussions

We definitely do not need “Women in Blockchain” panel discussions. Instead we need to have at least one female entrepreneur /investor/ developer/ reporter on every panel discussion. I have already encouraged numerous event organizers to follow these proposed guidelines and please join me promoting a “one female on every panel” vision.

As a female CEO I try to be as visible as possible. In fact, both Propy co-founders are female and we regularly participate and speak at various blockchain events. I welcome face-to-face interviews, like the recently interview I did with the BBC. It was a great opportunity for women to see a female — a “real-life example” — talking about the blockchain. Girls and women who are new to the industry need role-models : they need to see that women are already working in blockchain and to have the inner feeling “Yes, I can do that!” or “ I know it’s possible”. And it is possible. It’s good to see new laws coming into effect ensure that the employers and the Boards of Directors are engaged in a fair hiring process, meaning, avoiding any discriminatory practices. I hope the equal pay issue will be tackled next. — Natalia Karayaneva

Support and mentor young women

We really aren’t that far away from a time when women were discouraged from getting involved in the sciences and technology. Correcting for gender imbalances in tech won’t be an overnight fix, however, I think that if we support and mentor young women today we will be shaping the tech leaders of the future. — Raquel H Schafhauser

Huge career opportunities for people with non-technical expertise

We are at the place in the adoption curve where we need both talent and gender diversity to drive growth of the industry to the next stage. We’re not just talking about technical talent here…the industry needs a lot of new non-technical talent too. So it is the perfect industry for women to take the lead.

To engage more women, we first need to break the misconception that technical expertise is a precursor to working in blockchain and crypto. There are huge career opportunities for people with non-technical expertise to thrive in the industry, and this is a fantastic place for women to make their mark, showcase their talent and take a lead. — Gelareh Darvish

Computing pioneers were women

Although, the majority of crypto holders are men, women involved in blockchain technology have grown in the past year. The computing pioneers were women and those studying the computer science field in the 1970s were predominately women as well. We are working together to establish blockchain technology and there is nothing that should deter a woman from being a part of this new digital age of data transfer and finances. — Mia Sumra

It doesn’t matter that she isn’t a coder or developer or lacks technical expertise

We need women to understand that, with any relatively new technology there are a lot of opportunities. If a woman is eager, and has a thirst for knowledge, and is excited and passionate about blockchain, it doesn’t matter that she isn’t a coder or developer or lacks technical expertise — there is so much she can contribute to the industry. — Michelle Ann Gitlitz

Start with girls, then we won’t have to worry about women

Introducing more STEM programs in schools so that girls become more interested in technology. I went to Dallas in May this year to attend a drone competition organized by Bell Helicopters. We had a lot of girls who learned how to build drones in less than 6 weeks, without any prior knowledge. It was refreshing to see that. I would start with girls, then we won’t have to worry about women. — Csilla Brimer

More possibilities for investment access to fund women-led startups

I think once we have more role models of successful women in the industry, more women will be engaged. Also, there should be more possibilities for investment access to fund and support women-led startups and more events where successful women share their knowledge and inspire other women in tech. — Inna Bodganova

Stop putting a focus on women in a minority-specific way.

I think we need to stop putting a focus on women in a minority-specific way. Why can’t we just include more women in mainstream activities according to their skills and experience?

As I’ve already mentioned, “women in” panels and events are the professional equivalent of the kids table. We can’t have a thoughtful conversation about equality until everyone is included, including the 50% (or more) of the world’s population who happen to be men. I’m blessed that the Bloq orbit includes some amazing female leaders who use their platforms to focus on their projects, not on their status as an underrepresented group. Let the greatness of their work speak for itself. — Jenna Pilgrim

We need to recruit more women into tech across the board

Chances are it will likely reflect the broader tech industry, so we need to recruit more women into tech across the board. Diversity needs to happen at all levels to attract an outstanding applicant pool and give them a visible, viable career path. The best thing we can do as a group is find and grow talent of all descriptions, hire great people and run great teams. I work towards removing barriers to entry so that everyone can benefit from the satisfaction of doing work they love in an environment that fosters who they are and what they bring to the table. Until we achieve that goal, we must continue to invest in bringing equality to each individual interaction, each company, and the industry as a whole. It’s each one of us individually who makes the ultimate difference, every minute of every day. — Sara Priola

We need to be aware of the potential social biases we hold

Put simply, we all, men and women, need to be aware of the potential social biases we hold. There is a place for more women in the blockchain industry and I encourage everyone to be mindful of who they engage and to really support every individual they come across, so that more women are encouraged to enter into a career in the blockchain industry. — Marina Titova

Ask yourself “why is my perspective, a woman’s perspective, important for the industry?”

I am an observer of blockchain because I am a believer in the system, the technology, and what it can represent as a transformative technology and culture shift. I have interviewed women who are trying to be bold in the blockchain sector. They at times get caught up in the “guy” thing. So many of the folks in the sector are men that the women try to compete not collaborate.

My advice to them has been all about what do you bring to the story to add value innovatively. Rather than compete for air time as another, develop something that enhances society’s adoption of and affection for and understanding of blockchain.

Ask yourself “why is my perspective, a woman’s perspective, important for the industry?” If you cannot answer that, then try harder. After I interviewed Jared Tate, the founder of Digibyte, over 1 million viewers watched the video. Many of them came back to me and said — it took an anthropologist to really understand that power of blockchain.What do you bring to expand that understanding? — Dr. Andi Simon

“Tech Talk” sessions in schools or at work

To be clear, whatever may come, Blockchain currently is a technology being applied to a number of different industries. I think there needs to be continued efforts and initiatives all over the world to encourage women to take up studies and careers in technology. We should be continuing to demystify technologies (Blockchain as just one example) and facilitating more hands-on experiences for girls, so by the time young women reach university there is already familiarity and comfort with the subject. On a practical level, having “Tech Talk” sessions in schools or at work, and using those opportunities to discuss new technologies, is a great way to engage women (and men). — Marika Lulay

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Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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