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Ruth Kise 13 Dec 2023 ◦ 6 min read

The Landscape of Gender Diversity in the Сrypto Space

The Landscape of Gender Diversity in the Сrypto Space

As we have seen success in fundraising and growth in applications of blockchain technology, there is also a trend - a high gender asymmetry in the industry. Studies show that the cryptocurrency market is dominated by men: according to a recent study by Crypto Head, women account for only 5% of crypto entrepreneurs and less than 10% of crypto fund partners. The Forex report indicates that for the top 50 cryptocurrency and blockchain companies, women hold just 6% of the top positions.

Looking at broader leadership roles beyond the CEO, men hold 77.6% and women hold only 22.4% of the positions. This highlights the imbalance, despite more women reaching leadership positions below the CEO.

And this looks quite natural, given that the cryptocurrency industry and DeFi have adopted features from the traditional financial system that men built. But thanks to the existing differences between the two and the crypto industry's desire for inclusivity and decentralization - the field represents a promising economic future with freedom, equality, and diversity. However, it should be understood that despite the huge potential, there is a long way to go to real equality.

Challenges Faced by Women in the Crypto Industry

Structural inequality, deeply rooted in society, is a major barrier to women's use of opportunities offered by cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies and contributes to women being left behind in the transition to Web3.

In this part, we touched on some of the major barriers to achieving gender equality and women's empowerment in the crypto industry:

  • Gender norms and cultural stereotypes

Gender stereotypes and cultural norms often impede women's access to digital technologies and reduce their educational and employment opportunities in ICT-related sectors. Social norms and gender prejudices in teaching materials and techniques, and lack of support from family and teachers often discourage women from choosing STEM programs and professional activities in these areas in general.

  • Lack of literacy and digital skills (as a consequence of the above) 

Statistics show that women are less likely than men to have digital skills at all levels of digital literacy. That gap widens further across the skill spectrum: women are four times less likely to have advanced trading skills than men.

  • Lack of trust in the industry 

Again, due to a lack of education and awareness of the crypto industry possibilities, not only among women, but people in general, there is a lack of trust in technology and, in turn, there is a rejection of the risk associated with storing and investing in cryptocurrencies.

  • Lack of employment opportunities and entrepreneurship in the field

While gender rights are being expanded and cemented in society, there is still gender bias at the recruiting level in areas such as cryptocurrencies, finance, and IT. Social norms and expectations regarding the role of women in the family and as primary caregivers, together with male corporate culture, especially in the technology sector, are also major barriers to women's participation in the workforce and hinder employment and career opportunities.

At the same time, women-led projects receive less support at all levels. 2021 marked the second year in a row that the share of women's venture capital funding declined, despite total funding reaching a record high.

Initiatives and Efforts to Promote Gender Diversity

As the debate on gender inequality in the crypto industry continues to gain traction, the decision must go beyond setting diversity quotas for the sake of quotas, and instead focus on providing women with equal opportunities and a supportive work environment, starting with the education and recruitment phase.

Experts also believe that the key to success in the crypto industry lies in the implementation of the promises of cryptocurrency as a social and financial instrument of freedom that many women need. The anonymity that blockchain technology provides and the autonomy that decentralized finance (DeFi) offers make cryptocurrency an attractive solution to the lack of financial access for women.

Coverage of this issue in the media plays an important role: representativeness gives rise to representativeness. Getting to know female figures in the cryptocurrency will largely encourage young women interested in getting into the industry. Awareness of educational projects and companies interested in the employment of women will contribute to the development of gender inclusivity in the sector.

Organizations and Women Working to Increase Gender Diversity

Already today, women are achieving heights in the crypto industry and leading movements such as Crypto Female in Turkey, Crypto Mujeres in Argentina, and Shechain.co in Singapore.

Recognized as one of the 100 most influential people in the world according to TIME magazine, Roya Mahboob, a human rights activist and entrepreneur from Afghanistan, together with other entrepreneurs, created the Digital Citizen Fund. The mission of the DCF was to increase the number of women in workplaces and help them advance their careers. As part of the project, they launched special educational courses and also opened technology centers, most of which were made for school children.

Lavinia Osborne founded Women in Blockchain Talks. This is an award-winning educational platform that talks about women in the blockchain space. She noted that increasing the number of women in the crypto industry is necessary for the entire ecosystem to thrive.

The DAO project, Komorebi Collective supports women and non-binary founding personalities in the training, development, and financing of projects.

Former Washington insider and President Obama appointee Cleve Mesidor – founder of the National Political Network of Women of Color on Blockchain and author of The Clevolution, once shared his thoughts on this subject:

"The crypto industry may now seem to be dominated by men, but the future of Web3 is gender and racial inclusivity".

Benefits of Gender Diversity and Opportunities

Many studies of workforce diversity have shown the benefits that a crypto company can achieve.

  • Improved, impartial, decision-making

The introduction of a wider range of perspectives and experiences leads to a much more diverse and balanced decision-making process. Research has shown that more diverse teams make better decisions, and having women in leadership positions can lead to more efficient decision-making processes through strong analytical skills, risk management abilities, and collaborative leadership styles.

  • Increased innovation

Encouraging more women and other genders to see cryptography as a viable career path provides an opportunity to create new and innovative products and services such as NFT, for example.

  • A larger pool of investors

An inclusive approach to financial product development could broaden the appeal of cryptocurrency and attract more women to the industry.

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