The world of Web3 has opened up new opportunities for individuals to participate in a more open and transparent internet, and to create wealth. However, despite the potential benefits of this emerging technology, women face unique challenges in the Web3 space. From the lack of diversity in the industry to the gender bias in funding, women encounter significant obstacles that make it difficult for them to thrive in the decentralized web.
To better understand these challenges, Cointelegraph interviewed several women in Web3. Devon Martens, Principal Blockchain Engineer at Sweet NFTs, shared her observations that the crypto industry, like many other technology and financial sectors, is male-dominated. Martens noted that this lack of representation can be a barrier to entry for women who may perceive themselves as being outside the norm
Martens shared her observation that she rarely ever sees women in the C-suite when examining new web3 companies and their management. She noted:
It is hard to pursue something as a concept and feels a little more realistic when you see people in those roles already. That is why it is so important to talk about what we can do to cultivate talent across the board, including encouraging women to get into the space.
Similarly, Sandy Carter, the COO and Head of Business Development at Unstoppable Domains, noted that women make up only 12.7% of the Web3 workforce, highlighting the need for greater diversity within the industry. In her experience, Carter has observed a significant gender gap in job applicants, with only 3% of candidates for a recent role at her company being women.
When I announced I was joining Unstoppable Domains, I included a link to apply for another role at the company; out of over 1,500 applications for that job, only 3% of the total applicants were women, and this stuck with me.
Briana Marbury, CEO of the Interledger Foundation, discussed the issue of gender stereotypes in the crypto industry, noting that it is often perceived as being dominated by men and characterized by a strong “bro culture” that is unwelcoming to anyone who falls outside of the “pale and male” category. Unfortunately, this stereotype can often dissuade women from participating within the space. Marbury added:
“People, women especially, can often self deselect themselves from pursuing potentially lucrative, rewarding and purposeful career pathways in crypto – or technology more broadly – because they believe ‘it’s not for people like them.’ Intentionality is key here. There needs to be a lot of intention in the crypto space in shifting old tropes into new and inclusive narratives.”
According to Daniela Barbosa, Executive Director of Hyperledger Foundation, diversity is crucial for the creation of better and more robust technologies. She stated that “Study after study reveals that diversity in technology creation produces better outcomes and more robust technologies—that diverse communities are simply stronger communities.” However, she also acknowledged that exclusionary behaviors can influence community cultures, and this is a challenge in the crypto industry.
Barbosa highlighted that the crypto industry has a big focus on developers and finance/traders, two communities that unfortunately still have underrepresentation by women. “In crypto, I still see a lot of toxic behavior, which involves aggressive language and insinuation towards particular groups or individuals,” she shared. This toxic behavior can further discourage women from entering the industry, creating a double whammy challenge when it comes to gender in the blockchain crypto space.
Related: Binance co-founder He Yi says, ‘forget gender’ and focus on mindset to make it in Web3
The lack of gender diversity in the industry is a pressing issue that needs to be addressed. As Barbosa pointed out, diversity leads to better outcomes, and the exclusion of any group can hinder progress and innovation. It is essential to create a more inclusive culture that supports and encourages women to pursue careers in the Web3 industry.
Overall, promoting gender diversity and inclusivity in the Web3 space is essential for creating a more vibrant, innovative, and successful industry. By taking intentional steps to address the unique challenges facing women in the industry, the ecosystem can help ensure that Web3 is a space that is welcoming and accessible to all.
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