Women are underrepresented in blockchain businesses, but they shouldn’t be. Gender diversity has significant benefits for corporate performance. Also, blockchain is not only about technology but about social change, and women need to be part of it.
Women are underrepresented in blockchain. And that’s an issue.
Women are underrepresented in blockchain; even in comparison to other tech industries
LongHash surveyed 100 blockchain startups and found that just 14.5 percent of team members were women. In leadership roles, only 7 percent of executives were women. For advisors, that number was just 8 percent. 78 out of the 100 startups did not have a single female executive. 37 startups didn’t even have a single female employee at all.
The fact that there are more men in blockchain that there are women won’t surprise anyone. Traditionally, technology has always been a male-dominated field. The same goes for finance, which strongly intervenes with the blockchain sector in many areas.
However, the magnitude of the gender divide is surprising. Silicon Valley’s big tech companies all employ at least 25 percent women. One might raise the point that those are big corporations with gender quotas, something that is not a primary concern for small startups that struggle to survive.
However, Carta research shows that women also represent 29 percent of employees at small tech startups, twice as many as blockchain startups. Moreover, Women Who Techclaims 15 percent of startups that received venture funding have women on their executive teams, again twice as many than in blockchain startups.
The message of these studies is clear: While the gender gap in tech is big in general, it’s even more significant in blockchain.
What’s the reason? Bro culture? Hiring preferences?
The studies above only looked at employees. Another study analyzed the gender of cryptocurrency investors and found that only 5.5 percent of Bitcoin investors are women. That suggests the low quota of women in blockchain might not be due to businesses not willing to hire women. Instead, it appears that women might just not be that interested in the crypto space.
Gender diversity has a positive impact on business performance
Multiple studies have shown that gender diversity is beneficial for businesses. Gender diverse companies are 43 percent more likely to achieve above-average profits, according to McKinsey. Women bring different viewpoints, experiences, and skill sets to the table.
Alexander Mann Solutions and Trading Hub found women to be 34 percent more successful at financial trading than their male counterparts. Studies have also found that women are less prone to engage in risky behavior – that’s why women get lower car insurance rates; and it might also be the reason, why women are not trading Bitcoin.
Gender diversity is generally good for any business. Tech, and blockchain, are no exception from this rule. No doubt, we need more women in the industry.
Blockchain is about societal change; women need to participate
Blockchain is said to disrupt nearly every industry and reshape the way how we conduct business and interact with each other. Thus, it will make a significant mark on society.
Technology-driven revolutions of the past have been almost entirely male-dominated, even the internet. Blockchain is going to be the first technological revolution in which women can have a large-scale impact right from the start; and contribute to building technology with everyone’s needs in mind.
Blockchain also offers enormous opportunities to women in countries in which they have fewer rights and are openly discriminated against. Blockchain can increase transparency, enhance financial inclusion, and provide women with an anonymous currency. Thus, it can become a tool to promote female independence across the globe. Roya Mahboob, for example, an Afghan woman, launched Women’s Annex, inviting girls to write blogs and earn bitcoins from ads.
Blockchain offers tech-savvy women the chance to reap early-starter benefits
Although women are underrepresented in blockchain, there are many examples of successful women in the industry. Elizabeth Stark taught at Yale and Stanford universities before but now rules Lightning Labs. Pamela Morgan runs Third Key, working with Bitcoin startups on multi-signature security measures. Cindy McAdam is a president of the Bitcoin wallet service Xapo.
For tech-savvy women, blockchain might be the best chance to carve out a successful long-term tech-career in a male-dominated sector. It offers the opportunity to get into an industry that is still in an early stage. Thus, early-starters can now build up a skill set and connections which they can benefit from once the industry matures.
Or as venture capital investor Alexia Bonatsos puts it: “Women, consider crypto. Otherwise, the men are going to get all the wealth, again.”