Women On The Block was a cryptocurrency event held in Brooklyn, New York, on 13th May 2018. More than 300 people came together to talk about blockchain and cryptocurrency opportunities.
Part of the discussion during the event was about how women could be involved in blockchain technology. At the event, New York congresswoman Carolyn Maloney took the crowd by surprise when she said: “Satoshi is female!” The event was organized at a time when more women are being urged to be part of the crypto community.
The women at the event wish they would get a better welcome to the community rather than being treated like crypto unicorns. Speakers also discussed the business opportunities and applications women can take on within the crypto space. Some the opportunities discussed includde using blockchain in supply management in the food sector and using blockchain technology to revolutionize the real estate industry, among others.
Findings have shown that women in blockchain, just like in other positions of privilege and power, are under-represented. A survey conducted by International Quartz on 378 venture-backed crypto and blockchain firms founded between 2012 and 2018 showed that only 8.5 % of these ventures had a woman as one of the founding members, compared with 17.7% in other technology companies.
Many women at the event were of the opinion that the lack of gender parity in the industry could hold the industry back. In the words of European Parliament member Eva Kaili from Greece:
Women have a better understanding different priorities with this technology. We believe, with these tools, you can have a strong influence on the future.
Most women at the event agreed that blockchain technology could be of more benefit to women than men. The reasons behind this are various.
For instance, women are still struggling worldwide with financial access and empowerment issues. Further data from World Bank shows that majority of the world’s women are considered “poor”.
In Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries, women are still not able to receive business loans without male witnesses. Additionally, the national coalition against domestic violence data shows that 94% of women who were victims of domestic violence, were also victims of economic abuse. In these cases, most of the abusers controlled the victim’s access to financial services and funds.
It is true that a censorship-resistance and a pseudonymous system can be the solution to these challenges faced by women.
However, despite these disappointing findings, there is hope. According to German entrepreneur Masha McConaghy, co-founder of both BigchainDB and the Ocean Protocol “We still don’t have it [freedom] yet, but we are moving towards it.”
The key to women’s involvement in blockchain technology is inclusive corporate practices. Another important factor is education. Data sharing initiatives and education programs based on blockchain technology such as Women Who Code and Women On The Block are just a few examples of events and educational initiatives that many women agreed are vital for gender parity in the crypto community.
Image Credit: Deposit Photos
What do you think about such events as Women On The Block? Will these lead to more involvement of women in the crypto community? Share your opinion in the comments section below.