IT and fintech are notoriously male-dominated fields.
One may assume that a new blockchain industry built on utopian futuristic ideas should welcome equality and therefore construct a community where everyone can find their place. However, that’s not exactly what happened. A lot of people claim that women are clearly a minority here. Are these allegations true, and what is the actual sex ratio in crypto world? Let’s find out.
According to some experts, last year investors earned about 85 billion dollars from crypto, where only 5 billion were accrued to women. 91.22% of people engaging in crypto mining operations are men, as shown by Google Analytics.
There are also less female experts recognized in the industry. During one of the recent North American Bitcoin Conferences, only 3 out of 87 speakers were women.
As you see, the presence of male dominance is obvious. However, there are many exceptions. For instance, a recent study showed that Indian women, despite being a minority, invest in crypto twice as much as Indian men. It is also worth noting that Indian women tend to enter the investment world in their 40s or older. “Usually, female investors who buy or trade are over 40 years of age. Typically these are mature investors who are able to put more money in” elaborates Shivam Thakral, the CEO of Buyucoin.
There are initiatives that are aimed to bring more women into IT and fintech as well. Projects like Girls Who Code or New Girls On The Block (a blockchain conference with female speakers only) are just a few examples.
And of course, as the blockchain world constantly expands, the number of women interested in crypto rises. According to London Block Exchange Ltd., in the last 6 months the number of female investors has doubled (!). The study also revealed that it’s the millenials who are boosting the investment sector: every fifth girl born in the late 80s and early 90s is highly interested in digital currencies, and there is more and more young women ready to contribute to this industry.
An average crypto user is still a man, though. If you are wondering, according to Zerohedge data (2013), “he” is about 32 years old, libertarian or anarcho-capitalist (37%), non-religious or atheist (61%) and works full-time (43%).
Is crypto industry sexist?
Sex ratio does matter, but everyone is mostly wondering if there is actual discrimination goin on, right? (And the short answer is yes.)
As it hasn’t been long since blockchain went mainstream, with the absence of reputational control male crypto enthusiasts have assumedly formed a so-called “bro-culture” since the very beginning. It leads to objectification of women in ads and casual hidden misogyny. A few classic examples:
– DateCoin tried to attract investors posting a Facebook ad featuring a reclining woman in a tight swimsuit with a slogan “Touch my ICO”;
– “Miss Blockchain” beauty pageant in Russia (even though participants presented their career successes, it was mainly a beauty pageant).
However, it is worth noting that crypto is not the only ones to behave that way: a lot of industries tend to use images of females in order to sell and promote. And as this industry keeps welcoming more and more girls, the world of blockchain becomes more and more inclusive.
Finally, *get ready for a great twist*: crypto has unexpectedly become a tool some semi-radical male rights advocates use. There is an ongoing lively discussion on Reddit about how crypto helps to avoid a fair division of property in case of divorce: bitcoins are easy to hide, and the laws of most countries do not have clear regulations for this issue. Therefore, virtual currencies are considered an instrument this small group of activists plans to use to restore male rights.
A win-win situation
You may ask – why does this matter? Why bring women into crypto in the first place? Well, in order to become accepted around the world, crypto has to be supported by all demographics including women, PoC etc. It’s not just about equality, it’s about economy: more diverse workforce means a wider range of products on many new markets.
“Bitcoin can hardly be labeled a global payment and wealth storage system if it excludes half of the population”.
– “Why aren’t there more women in bitcoin”, News.Bitcoin
On the bright side: there is already a lot of women who bring something new and innovative to the industry. Here are a few crypto ladies who are worth paying attention to if you seek inspiration:
– Afghan entrepreneur Roya Mahboob wants to empower females in her country using crypto: her fund is helps Afgan women launch startups holding a bitcoin conference to showcase these businesses. She also states that cryptocurrencies can be a tool for women in becoming less financially dependent.
– Emily Spaven, a former Google employee, used to be a first managing editor of the leading crypto media CoinDesk. Now she is an editor at Tech City News and a role model for female journalists writing about bitcoin and blockchain.
– Amber Baldet is in charge developing Quorum for J.P. Morgan, one of the most ambitious corporate blockchain projects. The Ethereum-based system is meant to serve huge enterprises needs such as scale, performance, and privacy.
Nevertheless she persisted
Although women in the crypto still seem to be a minority, everything is changing for the better. At the end of the day, it is an ever changing and evolving industry meant for those who are smart, fast, persistent and innovative, regardless of their gender.