Women in Blockchain: the next step forward


#1

A recent article in the New York Times drew attention to “blockchain bros” and the evident gender disparity in the blockchain industry, particularly in the United States.

“Blockchain bros” was defined by the article as the male-dominated culture buoyed by a new fleet of wealthy crypto speculators; and was mentioned alongside other notable sexist incidents such as DateCoin’s Facebook ad featuring a female model in a bathing suit and the words “Touch my ICO”.

And this experience is not unique to the US. There are other counts of sexist crypto advertising and blockchain conferences and events around the world that often feature few or no female speakers.

This got me interested in seeing why this is the case…

Statistics of Gender Disparity

  • This NY Times article estimated that women reportedly make up a mere 4-6% of investors in the blockchain space.
  • An Ethereum community survey found that only 4% of ‘etherians’ are women.
  • Coin.Dance, a website that uses Google Analytics, looks at Bitcoin statistics such as engagement by gender. At the time of writing this article, the disparity is 91.22% male, 8.78% female. On January 1, women represented 3.43%.
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  • An International Quartz survey of 378 venture-backed crypto and blockchain companies founded between January 2012 and January 2018, showed roughly 8.5 percent had a woman on the founding team, compared to 17.7 percent in the broader tech industry.

While there are flaws in this data, such as the argument that the Ethereum community survey was performed on reddit, a platform that is also dominated by men; and the well-documented risk aversion in female investors which may affect the percentage of cryptocurrency investors (due to the current nature and volatility of this market). But the imbalance cannot be ignored. I also looked at industries that are related to the blockchain space such as the financial services and technology industries and found these results:

  • In financial services companies, female representation severely declines as the career level rises, resulting in a significant predominance of men in senior positions. Source.
  • The technology and computer science industry is another place where women are decidedly a minority.
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  • This PWC report found a number of key findings such as the fact that the gender gap in technology starts at school and carries on through every stage of girls’ and women’s lives, the lack of female role models in the space, and the lack of information and opportunity provided on technology careers.

The Importance of Women in the Crypto-Space

Being a Cardano community member, you are all aware of the immense benefits blockchain technology can have on our society. But perhaps, women can benefit even more than men…

According to Oxfam, the majority of the world’s poor are women. A decentralized banking system will hopefully help these women gain access to their own banking. Women deal with further issues surrounding financial access and empowerment too.

For example, did you know that in Saudi Arabia, women are still legally barred from receiving a business loan or license until two men testify of her behalf? And according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, at least 94% of women who experienced domestic abuse were also victims of economic abuse, where the abuser controlled her access to income or financial services.

Having women in the blockchain space is the key to building the solutions that can help shape the future for the better. Cryptocurrencies and blockchain projects can take into account the problems that all people, men and women alike, deal with. Without diversity, these issues won’t come to the table.

Moving forward…

More and more, there are events or organizations that bring together the female community. “Women on the Block” is a blockchain conference in Brooklyn, New York that features an all-female speaker panel. Or Collective Future is a blockchain diversity advocacy group that creates a diversity pledge for crypt-companies to sign as a show of commitment. And there’s TOKEN2049, one of Asia’s biggest crypto conferences which was held this past March, that offered a 50% discount on tickets for women.

But is it the right step forward?

As always, there are two sides to an argument. Though I believe creating a space where women feel included is important, I also believe that preferential treatment isn’t the right way.

All-women panels are a great initiative, unless they are created for the purpose of focussing on gender. Many conference organizers use this as their ‘feel good’ action or to show that they are making an effort in diversity, but when speakers are asked to discuss what its like to be a woman in the space rather than their achievements and contributions, then it becomes another form of discrimination.

And similar to the argument against board quotas, my opinion is that your place at the table should be earned. That is the true meaning of gender equality. We simply need to make sure the culture and infrastructure is there to recognize and acknowledge hardworking, qualified women in the same capacity as their male counterparts.

Additionally, a focus on education is essential. The PWC report sourced above notes that the gender gap in technology started in school. That’s why its great to see education programs and data-sharing initiatives, like Women Who Code, emerging. Women Who Code is a non-profit organization that provides training, mentorships, networking and scholarships to women who wish to pursue a technology or coding career.

Thirdly, I think we need to end the stigmas of gender in science, finance, computer engineering and the like. We, sadly, have engrained stereotypes that we don’t even realize we have. If I asked you to picture a “scientist” in your mind, I’m guessing the vast majority of us would probably conjure up someone wearing a lab coat, and that someone would probably be a man. We need to take a personal action to be conscious of this.

Lastly, we need to create an open and indiscriminating community space. As Cardano community members, we hope that you uphold the view that all individuals should be treated respectfully, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof). Join us in creating a welcome space for any and all to feel included!

What is Cardano doing?

Cardano’s very own cryptocurrency, Ada, is named after Ada Lovelace. Ada was a gifted mathematician and intellectual. She published her translation of an academic paper about the Babbage Analytical Engine and added a section, nearly three times the length of the paper, titled, “Notes.” Here, she described how the computer would work, imagined its potential and wrote what is often considered to be the world’s first computer program. One can only imagine the gender inequality she experienced in the early 19th century!

Beyond that, our project definitely supports gender equality. From a non-discriminatory community code of conduct which we strictly adhere to, to education. IOHK will be training Ethiopian developers, that will go on to invest their skills into the local economy building blockchain applications for the country. The first class is all-female.


For a bit of fun, we’d love to see how our community fairs out. Are you?

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How do you think the blockchain industry can help close this gender gap?


#2

#3

They are not sexist by not having female speakers lol… With their own information they just stated women have no interest in Crypto on a technical level. They have equal access to internet and a computer just like anyone else…

This is not gap that needs to be closed, if there is a gap, it is there for a reason, it is there because that is a natural gap.

What exactly is the issue anyway? We need the most competent developers and entrepreneurs it does not matter what gender they are. The reason there is a gap, is due to much more complicated biological reasons. I am all for encouragement of women, and if people want to work on that, go ahead. But there is really no issue at all, it is simply a made up issue.

How about the Military? How about construction work? How about electricians? Car mechanics? how about Pilots? Goal miners? Sewage work?

Why is this not a issue? Where is the outrage to for the gender disparity here?

The disparity can never be closed without force, because simply there aint many woman who want to be in the military or do construction work… Its that simple, and this broadens out over many areas, just as there are men who are unlikely to be interested in certain things woman tend to be interested in.

Regarding this…

This is absolutely horrible, but I think most people reading this know exactly what the issue here is… and of course whoever wrote this, didn’t have the balls to actually address the real issue here… Because that would be politically incorrect wouldn’t it.


#4

IMO this is the best route to take to empower the women that have not yet been empowered through their upbringing.


#5

Beyond a joke… :frowning:


#6

As I see it, only women who are already involved are in a good position to answer this question. Women who are not involved with blockchain, but are in related areas, might have some idea. As for men – forget it.


#7

No there was no deeper meaning in that (I did see the potential irony after the fact) - I actually thought the whole thing was a copy/paste from a article, I am still not clear who has written it… but it also goes for the linked CNN article… and it doesn’t even matter the gender of the author, the point is very clear… There is actually a REAL human rights issue, affecting woman in Arabic countries, but that no one wants to talk about…

Because they do not have the balls to do it… God forbid criticizing another “minority” or “religion” because you will be labeled a racist by the same leftist people.

They talk about the consequences, even that is rare to see, but they dont talk about what the real origination of the issue is.


#8

I understood what you meant exactly, the writing excludes the facts of why in Saudi Arabia women are oppressed.
Also made no other reference to why women are the majority of the worlds poor, they have highlighted an issue without pointing out the real reason’s for it.


#9

The experiences of Muslim women vary widely between and within different societies.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_Islam

There’s a lot of information in that article, I’ve hardly skimmed it. But I found this section interesting: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_Islam#Female_heads_of_state_in_Muslim-majority_countries_during_the_modern_era


#10

I think you should go do a lot more research the topic

There multiple complications to this, including as you have touched on, many different branches of Muslims.

One thing to mention is also that Wikipedia of all things, should be taken with a grain of salt when it comes to sensitive topics, there is a hard left bias. Even thought might find actual facts, there are deeper nuances.
What is important to note here is that a facade of government control does not equal actual control if you are limited or governing out from religious law or stand points - in many cases these operate independent of each other.

I dont know what exactly what you are trying to ague… If that by having Woman in the government, somehow mitigates the fact that one of the last places on earth where Woman have the least or unequal rights (in terms of the law) are found across the middle east and arabic countries… and there is only one common denominator.


#11

You say I should do more research, then you hijack my point, which was precisely that it’s unreasonable to say that gender inequality has complex causes in the West but is monodimensional in other cultures (“the real issue”). As you’re now acknowledging that, I see no substantial point in pursuing this.


#12

There is HUGE difference between unequal rights (By law) than outcome disparities and cultural or biological disparities.

They should not be compared at all.

The former is a problem of equal opportunity, the latter a problem of equal outcome.

There is no place in the West where a Woman do not have the SAME RIGHTS as a HUMAN, under the LAW, as MEN do.

Neither should there be anywhere in the world - and that is a very simple to identify and for once a real inequality issue that has merit. There is no complication to this, it is defacto inequality of opportunity, protection and freedom.


#13

Reduce pissing contests (“my knowledge is bigger than yours”) in discussion forums.

Women tend towards the snowflake end of the spectrum. (This is not about politics.)

They prefer friendlier environments.

As do many men. But women more so.

Easy to say, less so to enact. :smile:


#14

Thanks for posting this Maki - diversity is an interesting topic that’s good to discuss now while the Cardano community is relatively small and able to establish useful policies more easily than later once it (hopefully) grows much larger.

I’ll post my thoughts on each issue you’ve brought up in separate comments.


#15

From my side, and i can´t be that wrong if i state that most of the people at least in this forum, are careless about the gender of a person in mutter of coding/ Engineering wherever … is the quality of the brain what its mutter

I really believe should be a mutter of meritocracy and not gender thing, also i think i m safe to assume that mens are more interested in tech fields so i think all this thing is more about women that should get interested more to this particular space, its a women issue to be solved by women

Now, what men can do is to be fair in their judgement between men and women, for me personally i dont care at all about if a Programmer is men or women, what i m concerned more is the quality and inteligence on how they solve their tasks.

So, afaik, if more women join this field would be amazing and the whole community will be enriched, yet its not my job to convince women about the whole blockchain thing!

I m pretty sure that many of us get basically ignored talking to a women about Pos Pos liquid democracy proofs of proof of work :joy::joy:


#16

There is a “Gender gap” on the height of men and women.
There is a “Gender gap” on the sprinters speed of men and women.
There is a “Gender gap” on the hours men and women work.

We don’t try to “close the gap” because is an ignorant approach to the “problem” that isn’t even a problem.

A real problem is the actual financial system that is in place, thats a real problem, that i find more worthy focusing on, and thats what this whole thing is about.


#17

They need to stop assuming our gender. The answer that everyone needs to give when asked about naming a woman in crypto is, “I don’t ask what gender people are”. I’m so sick of all of this. I never state my gender either.


#18

I would love for more than the small percentage who know of cryptocurrencies out of roughly 50% of the population base to be interested in ADA. I see absolutely no reasons why women cannot excel in this type of knowledge. You can be very risk averse and still invest in things that have a risky outlook. It is all about risk management imho. In any case thanks cf_maki.mukai for highlighting an important issue.


#19

Cardano, i trust that if a woman wanted to apply for a position in you’re company then there would be nothing stopping her from doing so and being compared to her competitors in regards to who is best suited for there job based on their competency.

I’m all for encouraging women to be a part of Blockchain technology if that is where their interest is, however i’m very much against giving women special treatment over men based on their gender and a ‘perceived’ gap predicated on skewed statistics.

Men and Women are biologically different, and generally have different interests. This is a great thing, as when a man and a women come together they make a better unit as a team and compliment each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

If i look at my own family and circle of friends as a microcosm in terms of Blockchain, certainly the women are interested in the subject, but it’s the men who tend to pursue it and research the topic. This doesn’t disenfranchise the women in my family and friends, as they reap the advantages of the males in their lives pursuing the subject, whilst they are interested in whatever else they prefer.

My partner is a professional photographer, which is an industry that is mostly dominated by men. She hates forced gender equality as she wants to be evaluated on her competency as an individual and not be given special treatment based on her biology.

There are certainly big problems in the world regarding gender equality and they need to be addressed. However, Western civilisation compared to the rest of the world is far far ahead on the subject, and we’ve done a pretty damn good job at it. Yes there are still improvements to be made which will happen over time, but we will only go backwards if we start enforcing behaviour and business based on perceived political correctness.

By all means Cardano, support the encouragement of women in Blockchain technology, but if you go down the road of supporting the enforcement of politically correct ideology, then I will seriously consider removing my support from you’re company, as it will no longer be based on the fairness of individual competence.

If anyone wants to engage in a debate on my comment, I invite you to with open arms and mind.

Regards.


#20

Well since you are actually interested in a debate, I will take you up on it.

I agree on everything you said, but I would like to question that part.

What do you mean that there are still plenty of things to improve on in the west? I would challenge someone in this thread, or you - to actually specify a inequality - or where you have experienced or witnessed any structural discrimination - and not just people being people, because everyone experiences headwinds and bad people in life. That dont like you for whatever reason.

Because I can give you tons of examples of the exact opposite, that being a woman (all else being equal, same interests, same ambitions, same drives, same work ethic, same intelligence, etc) has great advantages in this day and age, specially in western societies.

Many use the faulty large broad-based statistics where everyone is lumped together as male and female, there will be differences, because we have gone through a different route of evolutionary biology.

On a individual basis there will be no difference what gender you are, it all has to do with your actions in life.

When we look at it from a statistical aggregate, there are definitely differences between woman and men, not necessarily on a individual comparison, but on a broad comparison where people fall in on the bell-curve.

One of the reasons men, are generally more competitive and driven to succeed (which is why you find men predominantly in the top branches of many categories) is because of evolutionary biology. Women are the choosers of which men get to reproduce, and your value and attractiveness as man is based on strength (mental and physical), wealth and social status.

and men have to fight for each inch of this in a very competitive ladder, and only the top ladder of men get to reproduce.

Some numbers I have come across from earlier societies, are in extremes of 1/16… of men who got to reproduce.

We have been bred by women to be exactly this, to be driven and be competent. A woman does need this in the same way, if a women is attractive, she can be unemployed, lazy and even have bad behavior, and she will still have no problem having bunch of mates lining up.

Its one of the reason Woman in general do not have the same driving interest achieving in the highest of brackets - they never had the same need to.

If you sit down with a bunch of men and women and ask them questions, what they do, and why they do it, whats important to them, what their dreams and ambitions are.

You will clearly see there is a very different set of drivers - and again, that does not account for everyone, within the genders there are subset groups… This is why this whole gender-thing is non-sense… You cant lump people together and make stats out from it and claim inequality…

If you want to make stats, you have to do it from a strictly individual basis because this will take everything into account, including tendencies of behavioral differences.

One thing I have also noted as interesting is that Men dont tend to see themselves as a group… We are just individuals doing our thing, we really dont care about “men” as a whole… We dont do things “for men” we just do things for ourselves… We dont really give a shit if we work with a man or a woman, Its simply nonsense, and I’ve never seen or met anyone in my life who views this in any other way… I’ve yet to see discrimination or meet any man that has anything against woman… In fact Its exactly the opposite… Most would love to work with women, because most men are wired to generally like women.

I see a lot women thinking and pointing out to other women what they should be doing, while not even doing it themselves - and Its funny in a way… It would be like men sitting around and encouraging sub-groups of men, like men who live for sports, to become computer developers… Like… lol… Its just never going to happen. Because we are different as individuals, even though we are men… and we dont care what other men do… Each their own… I certainly dont and this tend to be general attitude I meet…

I am just a Individual, that happens to be a man.