This is a long-overdue blog. I have previously mentioned this event in an events report I did last year. This is to share my thoughts on the questions asked on the panel. You’re welcome to engage me in the comments and share your thoughts too.
1. Do you think that culture is to be blamed for the lack of female participation in the crypto sphere?
Before that, perhaps we need to define what culture is. In its simplest form, culture is what people do by default. What people do when no one else is looking. This has been ingrained in their words and actions.
When you look at it this way, it’s easy to apportion some blame to culture for the lack of female participation in blockchain and crypto.
Now to answer the question, cultural perception and even religious connotations all tend towards situations where women are expected to be ‘the weaker vessels’, ‘dependent’ and subservient.
This then brings us to, why do people get involved in the crypto space? Regardless of whether it is to bank the unbanked (or even unbank the banked) or accelerate financial inclusion, there is no denying the fact that in the end, we want to be responsible for someone or something. And culture has propagated the belief that it is the men that should be responsible for the women. Women are told their place belongs in the kitchen.
2. Studies have shown that companies with homogenous workforces are less productive, make worse products and less return on investment (ROI) compared to companies with a more diverse workforce. What are the strategies you would suggest to help in creating a more diversified workspace in the crypto space?
It starts with acknowledging people for what they do and the contributions they make. It’s high time women get complimented for their work and not their looks or clothes. If I just successfully captured the first-ever image of a black hole, telling me I look cute is way below the belt.
Ask for feedback. Sometimes, others might think they know what you want, but they don’t until they ask you what exactly you want.
Enlighten key players of all genders on the need to make room for diversity and inclusion.
Whatever strategy is adopted, deliberate efforts need to be made.
3. One way to build an interest in the blockchain technology in the younger female generation is to create role models do you think there are sufficient role models in the space to cater for this need?
Absolutely. I for one look up to badass people like Maureen Murat, Nerushka Bowan and Amy Wan. I’m biased since they are lawyers. I believe there are sufficient role models available in the space. And these women are at the forefront of the ongoing fourth industrial revolution. The best part about blockchain and crypto role models is that, on a larger scale, they are easily accessible when compared to other industries. Further examples that come to mind include Roselyne Wanjiru, Sonya Kuhnel, Amber Baldet, Katherine Wu, and lots more.
4. How is it possible to know if women will advocate for female inclusion in the sphere? Where are the guarantees that the “right” women are at the table?
While this question is in itself ironic, it is actually a fact. A sad one at that. I recall someone I follow on Twitter, recently made a comment that women are the custodians of patriarchy. Yes, not even the men who are the most mentioned villains.
Well, to be fair, who doesn’t want to dress up, look good and get some able dollar-loaded man to take care of them, all without having to lift a finger?
While we cannot guarantee that the right women are sitting at the table, we can guarantee that there will still be women standing up for what is right. For what is deserved.
5. It is imperative that if we want to get more females within the blockchain space, the best way to do this is to ensure every single age demography should be motivated to pursue careers in STEM fields. What are the ways you think girls between the ages of 13-18 should be encouraged to pursue blockchain-based careers?
By default, the blockchain space is young. In fact, we should be asking how to encourage more elderly people into the space.
That being said, to get teen girls into the space, there needs to be targeted exposure. Similar to the BlockTech Women Conference today. Last year, I took a female teen class on introduction to blockchain and crypto. They were very attentive and engaging during the session. I took the time to explain some possible career paths they could take in the space.
They also need to be encouraged to have a liking for maths, law, programming and economics, which are the different aspects embedded into the principles of blockchain technology.
6. How Can Recruiters Attract More Women to Tech Roles in the blockchain space?
One way is to be careful in the choice of words when crafting vacancy listings. I still see recruitment notices being written with the male pronoun. A female who is convinced she is suited for the role might hesitate thinking the role is meant for men alone. To be on the safe side, gender-neutral or collective pronouns should be used.
Including more information in the recruitment notice that shows that the workplace environment will be desirable for women. Some of these include flexible work schedules, maternity leaves, and allowances for things like child daycare.
7. When talking about female inclusion, we know that only 5%-7% of all crypto holders are females and it is most likely that in Africa, women who are illiterates will find it difficult to own cryptocurrency. Can you suggest a roadmap for educating these women about the benefits of the blockchain?
Whatever roadmap is adopted will only succeed if some fundamental infrastructures are in place. Using crypto and the blockchain requires the internet, which translates to a smartphone in the current mobile economy. How many illiterate women own a smartphone or know what one can do?
So, starting from the fundamentals is key.
Once the infrastructure is in place, we can then move on to real-world use cases and immediate benefits of adopting the technology. Telling an African woman who cannot read and write and has never seen a smartphone that Satoshi Nakamoto has created a technology that allows for smart contracts is as good as fetching water with a basket.
What we need to tell her is that she can now export the crops from her backyard to a trader in another country and get paid instantly. That’s just one example of the real-world use case that will bring about mass adoption.
Unfortunately, we have a long way to go, to get there.
On the roadmap, a good step would be building minimalistic products that have indigenous languages. And of course, having training sessions with users to show in person how to use the products optimally.
8. With the increase in the War against domestic violence, suggest one way in which the blockchain can help victims of domestic violence, rape and insurgency.
Leveraging blockchain’s features of immutability, transparency and time-stamping, it is easy to keep records that cannot be altered, right from report to trial.
Through blockchain technology, it is also possible to create platforms for women to share their stories securely and empower others dealing with the trauma of overcoming the impact of abuse and violence meted out on them. There are social media platforms such as ONO and Steemit that reward users and content creators for sharing their stores, which can be an alternative means to earn income.