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By women, for women: Crypto industry leaders take steps to bring equity to the blockchain sector by launching female-focused projects.
The computer sector is infamous for its male-dominated culture, and the blockchain field, sadly, may continue display this, at least for the time being.
Despite the fact that female cryptocurrency investors are on the increase, men continue to hold the bulk of job jobs in the blockchain industry. This might be attributed to a variety of factors, including a lack of investment for female-led blockchain startups or the persistent gender wage gap in technology. According to recent statistics collected by the AI-powered marketplace Hired, female candidates for computing jobs earned 3% less than their male counterparts.
While this is frustrating, women leaders in the blockchain field are taking steps to promote equality by enabling females to speak up at industry events.
A blockchain event for women
Specifically speaking, events run by women for women are becoming a popular concept within the blockchain sector. Most recently, Anne Fauvre-Willis, chief operating officer of Oasis Labs — a privacy-enabling blockchain platform — hosted a virtual “Blockchain Leaders Mentorship” event with two panels featuring women in blockchain.
Panelists gathered to discuss their engagement in blockchain, tools for learning about the industry, and ideas to increase female engagement in the future. According to Fauvre-Willis, the purpose of the event was to support other women while also providing as a resource for people interested in getting engaged in the blockchain industry:
“We think these events will definitely help drive women to get more involved in the space and seek out opportunities to help them advance. Being able to hear other successful women in the industry discuss how they got involved in this ‘unusual’ space shows younger women who want to learn more or get involved how to do so.”
The Blockchain Leaders Mentorship event, according to Fauvre-Willis, was specially designed for women trying to get into the blockchain and crypto field, as well as those wishing to shift from trade finance to fintech.
Fauvre-Willis went on to say that more high-caliber personnel is needed for the bitcoin and blockchain sectors to develop. As a result, she feels that a women-only event sponsored by women may help make this route more accessible while also providing panellists with the opportunity to network with one another.
In addition, recent research from blockchain consulting firm BDC Consulting found that it’s necessary for women to speak at crypto conferences in order to attract female participation in the space.
Inspiring insights shared from female leaders
While it is critical to highlight the importance of having female speakers at blockchain events, a lot of interesting thoughts were given at the Oasis Foundation’s Blockchain Leaders Mentorship panel.
For example, Bridget Greenwood, creator of The Bigger Pie — an organisation dedicated to empowering women in blockchain and new technology — stated during the second panel that she became interested in blockchain owing to financial inclusion. “In 2008, there was a financial crisis in which trusted, centralised systems failed many people,” Greenwood explained. Although Greenwood was motivated by financial inclusion to become active with Bitcoin (BTC), she also saw that there were few other women doing the same, which she found discouraging:
“There are some really amazing women in the space, and I want to continue to help the next group of people come in. I can see that we will have another generational transfer of wealth, and I don’t want any generation left out. I see my role as making sure these amazing women are seen and supported.”
While financial inclusion has proven to be a driving factor for getting involved with blockchain, it’s interesting to note that some of the panelists joined the space for other reasons. For example, Nadia Hewett, project lead for blockchain and digital currency at the World Economic Forum, explained during the second session that she entered the blockchain sector due to her background in supply chain management:
“I entered the blockchain space as part of the digitization wave that we’ve been seeing over the past years, where companies look at emerging technology and digitization to solve social and business problems. When I started reading about blockchain, I couldn’t stop because I understood how it could solve supply chain challenges.”
Hewett stated that she finally began working with the blockchain team at shipping behemoth Maersk to establish the TradeLens blockchain platform. “Blockchain is just one tool that enables new commercial and business models that were not previously possible,” she explained. Hewett has now revealed that she has been working on a variety of initiatives with the World Economic Forum, all of which focus on data sharing and privacy measures.
In addition to explaining how each speaker became active in the blockchain business, many of the ladies offered advise to those interested in entering the industry.
During the first panel, Vanessa Grellet, head of portfolio growth at CoinFund, a crypto asset-focused investment business, stated that the “openness” of information within the crypto space is critical for allowing both men and women to contribute knowledge to the industry. Grellet also mentioned that numerous Telegram and other social media groups allow people to contact directly with others in the sector, which provides a welcoming environment for those wishing to get engaged.
Panelist Layne Lafrance, co-founder of CryptoKitties and flow product lead at Dapper Labs, further mentioned that female newcomers must also gain a sense of comfort when it comes to discomfort. “Being comfortable with not knowing is important. If you are joining this panel today as a participant, you probably know more than you think,” she remarked.
Inspiration to get involved
Given the conversations at the Blockchain Leaders Mentorship event, Fauvre-Willis believes that these panels will serve as another resource to assist females find like-minded women in blockchain. She also mentioned that these talks might motivate women who do not currently have a background in technology to be engaged.
Other females in the blockchain sector feel the same. For example, Maria Sabando, Miami community leader, told Cointelegraph that she is organizing a women’s event during the Bitcoin 2021 Conference taking place at the start of June in Miami. The event is called “Mermaid Night,” and it aims to highlight women in the Bitcoin sector.
According to Sabando, female attendance at Bitcoin 2021 will most likely be less than 15% as this is often the case with other crypto conferences and is the case in the representation of speakers. She said:
“The mermaid happy hour event endeavors to be the ‘must attend’ event for the crypto community to directly connect with their favorite #cryptotwitter female persona. Given that the space is already underrepresented, we wanted to create an approachable environment during the conference days to raise the interest from women that may be curious but intimidated.”
In a similar vein to Sabando, Anna Vladi, creator of Women4blockchain and the originator of decentralised finance fund ForceDAO, told Cointelegraph that though the blockchain and decentralised finance sectors are popular right now, the area is still dominated by men.
Vladi understands the fear that women may have while learning about blockchain and DeFi, which is why events and training courses for women are so important. “As a woman in DeFi, it is our responsibility to bring others along with us,” Vladi stated. We need more women to illustrate that this industry isn’t as difficult and daunting as it appears.”