More and in more, the worlds of tech and finance (and politics, and filmmaking, and plenty of others!) people are realizing that making room for women at the table leads to innovation and progress.
In recent years the tech world has started to face its gender diversity conundrum, but statistics show that Silicon Valley still has a long way to go when it comes to including women. The Observer reports that women hold only 11% of executive positions in Silicon Valley companies. Women receive lower salary offers than their male peers for the same job 63% of the time, and female-led firms received only $1.64 billion from venture capitalists in 2016, compared to $58.2 billion earned by male-led firms. Techcrunch reports that only 17% of recent startups were founded by women.
These abysmal numbers are not simply the result of women’s disinterest: Techcrunch reports that 74% of young girls express interest in STEM fields and computer science. The financial world faces similar problems. The Financial Times reports that while the majority of junior financial services staff are women, only 25% of senior staff are female.
The reasons for gender gaps in tech and finance are numerous and complex, but the resulting work cultures are self-perpetuating: talented women are hesitant to enter companies because of an unwelcoming or even openly hostile culture, which in turn perpetuates said culture. Of course, female role models exist for young women interested in tech and finance. Visionary thinker Ada Lovelace has been called “the first computer programmer” by industry leaders such as Intel. Powerful current tech industry leaders include Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook), Susan Wojcicki (CEO of Youtube), and Ginni Rometty (CEO of IBM), while the finance industry boasts Janet Yellen (Chair of the Federal Reserve), Christine Lagarde (Managing Director of the IMF), and Ana Patricia Botin (Chair of Banco Santander).
Gender diversity has a proven positive effect on businesses’ bottom line. A recent Morgan Stanley study found that more gender-diverse tech firms earned an average of 5.4% more per year that their less diverse peers. The Atlantic Monthly recently pointed out that tech companies without any female leadership face a huge disadvantage due to lacking any executive perspective on the female customer base for their products. The Harvard Business Review reported on research finding that more diverse companies out-performed less diverse companies. Tech.Co reported on a study finding that significant female representation in management significantly improved financial returns for companies where innovation is necessary to staying in business.
Benefits from including women in tech and finance, once industries embrace them, are self-perpetuating. USA Today reports on a recent study finding that female-founded tech startups are more likely to hire more women. When female leadership emerges, more female innovators will follow those thinkers.
The need for women in blockchain thus becomes apparent: not only does a blockchain landscape with plenty of female leadership generate more innovation and profit than a male-dominated one would, but inclusion of female leaders begets more female participation and innovation. And women have already been participating in blockchain: Digital Currency Group has run a series of features on Women in Blockchain, sharing the experiences of female movers and shakers in a world that’s still overwhelmingly male. But there’s plenty more work to be done.
CryptoHQ, an inaugural multi-day gathering of cryptocurrency leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs, and artists will be holding a panel dedicated to women in blockchain. Holding event in Davos allows world leaders access to some of the most important conversations going on today about blockchain’s potential. For crypto landscape participants, CryptoHQ will serve as a useful venue for exchanging ideas, learning about advancement in the field, and discerning how cryptocurrency can tie into the world issues.. CryptoHQ events will cover topics such as government regulation and the future of financial services.
But one CryptoHQ event seems particularly noteworthy in light of growing awareness of the benefits of gender diversity in tech and finance. On Tuesday January 23rd at 4pm, CryptoHQ will host a fireside chat on “Women and Inclusion in Blockchain.” This event will feature multiple prominent female leaders in the blockchain world, headed by moderator Anu Bhardwaj, founder of Women Investing in Women. Given the well-established benefits of female leadership in the blockchain world–and the clear need for more of it–this panel will likely prove to be can’t-miss.
Bhardwaj’s Women Investing in Women is a branded coalition focusing on allocating venture capital to female founders. The event’s three speakers are Taynaah Reis, Chairwoman and CEO of Moeda; Katherine Kuzmeskas, MPH, Co-Founder and CEO of SimplyVital Health; and Penny Green, Co-Founder and COO of Glance Technologies. This group of four is something of a microcosm for the range of blockchain projects women can innovate in: in addition to Bhadwaj’s branded coalition, Reis’s Moeda provides blockchain-based banking to underbanked communities, Kuzmeskas’s SimplyVital Health provides analytics-based coordination of patients’ costs and care, and Green’s Glance Technologies has created an innovate new payment module for consumer purchases. Together, they can provide substantial insights on what’s next for gender diversity in blockchain.
Women have already made huge strides in blockchain, but more work needs to be done: work that will, in turn, encourage other women to join the field. CryptoHQ an important and enlightening platform to discuss the advancement of female blockchain leadership.
How can blockchain-based companies benefit from women in leadership positions?