For centuries women have been sidelined, marginalized and mostly ignored when it comes to the world of STEM. As per a 2018 Women In Science report by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), women account for an underwhelming 28.8% of all research and development professionals worldwide.
However, this is still a huge achievement when compared to previous and earlier statistics and the numbers are growing everyday thanks to initiatives such as The Global STEM Alliance and the A Complex Formula. Girls and Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in Asia are actively fighting to change that.
However as per a 2018 report by LongHash, these statistics for women in cryptocurrencies and blockchain might not be as reassuring. We’re already aware that STEM fields, especially blockchain based technology is already pretty male dominated but as per the report conducted in December 2018, the situation might be bleaker than we realized.
LongHash did a statistical analysis of 100 major blockchain based startups that were listed on ICO Rating and found that there was a visible gender based gap in terms of employment opportunities in the blockchain industry for women. They then divided the parameters of their research into three main factors; how many women were at the executive level, how many women were currently members of the advisory board for the startups and finally, the overall gender balance of the firm’s team.
The results revealed that out of the 100 startups listed, only 7% of executives were women while 6% served as advisors for the firms and in terms of viable members of the startups a mere 14.5% were women. If these results weren’t disheartening enough the study further revealed that 37 out of a 100 startups had NO female employees in any of the 3 defined roles whereas 78 out of a 100 had no executive female member.
These statistics lead us to the most obvious question. Why are there so few women in blockchain?
Well, there is no simple answer to this. But the reasons behind the issue become a little more clear when one actually looks at what female crypto pioneers and experts have to say.
In a 2018 interview with Forbes, Taylor Monahan who is the CEO of MyCrypto stated her frustration of hearing the same inane questions about what it is like being a woman in the field over her many accomplishments. She said, “It bothers me when my gender is at the forefront, and everything I’ve built, and everything I’ve accomplished and everything I have to share basically comes second to my gender.”
While it is true that the discussion around “women in crypto” needs to change to stop with the double standards, others view it as the wrong angle to the question. Connie Gallippi, who is the founder of BitGive which was the first non profit in Bitcoin stated in an interview with Glamour, that when people ask her why there are so few women in blockchain, she replies with, “Actually, there are. They’re just not given the same level of exposure or recognition.’ That’s the problem.”
So the problem might not necessarily be that there aren’t any women in blockchain but it might have more to do with the overarching assumption that there simply aren’t any women in the industry as a majority of media coverage helps perpetuate this notion. Yes, the field remains dominated by “blockchain bros” but the reason why we see so few examples of brilliant women in the industry might be because media coverage fails to recognize their accomplishments and efforts.