To celebrate women in the world of Blockchain for International Women’s Day 2023 we asked some of the leading female blockchain voices what are the opportunities and challenges for women in Web3.
The benefits of diversity across teams is now widely acknowledged with reports indicating increased profits and higher productivity as two of many key benefits for projects that support women in leading roles.
According to a recent report by Deloitte women only make up 7% of the blockchain workforce. Furthermore, in a new study by Boston Consulting Group it found that only 13% of Web3 projects had a female position at the founding table. These findings highlight the significant underrepresentation of women in the Web3 industry, a problem that has been overlooked in previous studies that focused on mixed-gender teams.
The analysis shows that metrics, such as funding success rates, decline as the percentage of women involved decreases. This imbalance will lead to long term consequences if we keep half of the population off the decision making table.
Sitting down with leading women in Web3 it was clear that there are opportunities and challenges to be addressed as the barriers to entry are taken down to create more diverse teams across the industry.
Lindsay Anne Aamodt, Head of Marketing at Upland Me
Aamodt is a leading voice in the metaverse, providing inspiration for all women to follow in her footsteps in the world of virtual opportunities. As Head of Marketing from Upland Me she has responsibility for performance marketing strategies, brand and content management, thought leadership and PR and partnerships.
“Women have a real opportunity to lead the conversation of what Web3 becomes for the future. To be at the table and not afraid to lean into crucial decision making, defining strategy and embracing flexibility when a pivot is needed. The unknown is uncomfortable especially when uncertainty is intimidating, but growth comes from women unafraid to be leaders and have a voice. Web3 is a frontier where empowerment is built in for those unafraid to take the opportunity.”
Charu Sethi, Chief Marketing Officer for Unique Network
Sethi is a leader in communicating the vast utility of NFTs and the role that NFTs can play in our digital future. For Sethi, a challenge for Web3 is that limited resources affect the time needed to focus on diversity.
“Achieving diversity in web2 has been a long-standing issue, but progress has been made with corporations dedicating resources to representation through programs for women to return to leadership roles, and diversity metrics tied to business objectives. However, in web3, early-stage startups struggle to prioritize non-urgent diversity efforts due to limited resources.”
However, there are also major opportunities to build diverse leadership teams. I really like the way Nitin Gaur describes in his article that Web3’s participatory economics depends on self-governance, efficiency, sustainability, and a decentralized economic system, protected by social ownership and accountability.
“Diversity and inclusion are critical to the success of participatory economics as it brings various skills, opinions, and expertise, enhancing intellectual capital and promoting fairness in decentralized decision-making. Flourishing diversity replaces conformity and regimentation, ensuring a richer, more varied life. As the industry continues to relentlessly live and breathe WAGMI, there needs to be deliberate decision making and effort to build diverse leadership teams with strong representation from women.”
Jillian Godsil, Award Winning Journalist and Founder of Blockleaders
Jillian Godsil has had several careers to date and hopes to have several more before she shuffles off this mortal coil. Graduate, Fintech PR director, Marketing Consultant, Journalist, Author (non fiction and very much fiction erotica) and Activist. Godsil is an advocate for women in Web3 and believes that the power lies in the approach.
“Ironically the biggest challenge is yourself, or rather getting yourself out of the way. From the outside looking in, it’s all bros, to the moon, when lambo and other crap. However, step across the magic border and suddenly it’s a very different world. Sure there are lots more men than women, and lots of young men, but the people in Web3 are from another country, they do things differently there and it’s a lot more fun than you could even begin to imagine. So, gird up the ole metaphorical loins and step over that line and be prepared to be so pleasantly surprised. Sure there are idiots in all walks of life but even the idiots here come with freshly made banana bread. Okay that last bit is a lie, but the reason most folks get into this sector is vast and refreshing and mostly positive.”
“The opportunity is the flip side to the challenge. Once you cross that border you join a community of people with high energy, great enthusiasm, out of this world vision and solid ambitions. And guess what, there are very few women there currently so you have a chance to really stand out, to make a difference and to be heard.”
With that said I have two points to make for you to enjoy Web3
- Bring your A game
- Bring your female friends’ A game too
Genevieve Leveille, CEO of Agriledger
When speaking about the challenges for women Leveille believes that the systems are not ready “Web3 right now is more of an aspiration than it is reality. I would almost suggest it is a marketing ploy. Ploy may be too strong of a word, but it’s more about this aspect of a way of transacting a way of individualizing in technology in having technology empowering, an idea of democratization of communities, of access democratization, of price of equity, all these things can be pulled in the same space.”
“The challenge is that the systems are not yet ready to make that happen. Also, even those of us who are part of that community are not able to clearly articulate and all agree into what exactly does it mean to be web3. Taking a step back, I would suggest that I was very much enamored with the concept of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). 4IR represented for me the big change coming in how we work, transact, play, and live our lives. However, many times, 4IR did not include things like blockchain.”
However, she is quick to point out that women can carve out their own niches in Web3. “This is a 24 by 7 type of work, which means that it doesn’t go to sleep, and business is always happening. This allows for women to be able to become mistresses of their own destiny. That could mean being able to have something which has always been difficult for many, your family, your children, and a very successful work life because you can balance it, not around a nine to five where you need to see people, but really the hours that you need to input to make your business successful.”
“This freedom of being and this freedom of work means that women can be much more effective and not feel the guilt that goes with not being able to take care of their family or their children or to provide for their parents. Instead, they can have it all, something that we were told we could not ask for.”
Zara Zamani, Co-founder of Neoki Metaverse and Chief Solutions Officer at Chromaway
Zamini is busy paving the way for brands and the design industry overall to enter the metaverse space. She believes all brands need to communicate with younger audiences, “Brands should explore the metaverse as a way to connect with Generation Z and Generation Alpha, who are increasingly digital-first and immersive in their experiences. As these generations grow up, they are likely to spend more time in virtual worlds and online gaming platforms, creating new opportunities for brands to engage with them through innovative experiences and activations.
By creating a presence in the metaverse, brands can establish a unique identity, offer exclusive content, and create immersive experiences that resonate with younger audiences. Moreover, the metaverse offers brands new revenue streams, such as virtual goods and experiences, that can enhance their business models and reach new customers.
She also identifies education as a key component that requires attention for the future.
“The web 3 space requires a different set of technical skills and knowledge, including blockchain technology, NFTs, smart contracts, and decentralized platforms. Additionally, the web 3 space is still evolving, and there is a need for continuous learning and experimentation to stay up-to-date with the latest developments and opportunities. Therefore, brands may need to invest in training and talent acquisition to overcome this challenge and unlock the full potential of the web 3 space. This transition requires a lot of education and co-building and co-creation which also makes it an extremely fun journey.”
Korby Hayre, Founder of House of Block
Korby is the driving force behind ‘House of Block’, an event management agency and private members networks. a visionary entrepreneur with over 25+ years experience across publishing and the events industry. With a passion for everything in the Blockchain space, she has created a dynamic platform for like – minded professionals to network and exchange ideas. Korby is the go-to person for Blockchain event management.
“Knowledge and education outside of the industry is a key challenge in Web3 development. The usual response from marketers is that the technology is overwhelming. Some brands are testing and the implementation elements can be challenging.”
“With regards to the opportunities, it is a nascent industry so there are opportunities everywhere. We are at the very early stages where discussions and trails into the metaverse are taking place. There are lessons being learnt everyday as brands share their experiences of what’s worked and what hasn’t. Staying ahead of the game with blockchain news is important.”
“Take advantage of this tectonic shift, and learn as much as possible by keeping up to date, listening to podcasts, attending events and watching webinars. The other challenges that we notice revolves around scalability, interoperability and lack of regulation in space. We receive feedback regarding these challenges at the House of Block Meta Club all of the time and they need to be addressed for the industry to progress in the future.”
Bridget Greenwood, Founder of The Bigger Pie
Bridget is the Founder of leading women’s network, The Bigger Pie. She is a true educator, champion of diversity and believer in the values of Web3 and blockchain technology.
Greenwood believes that “The impact of gender diversity on Web3 is a subject of increasing importance as we move towards a more decentralized and interconnected digital economy. Gender bias has been a pervasive issue in the tech industry and society at large, with women and other marginalized groups underrepresented in leadership roles and in the workforce as a whole.”
“Companies with more women in leadership roles tend to be more profitable. For one, diverse teams are more innovative and are better able to solve complex problems, better able to understand and serve their customers, as they are more representative of the broader population.”
Further research lets us know that in these times of global uncertainty, it’s feminine leadership traits that perform best. Feminine leadership traits focus on relationships. If it were just a question of educating, training and hiring women then 1) Organisations could just do this themselves 2) attracting and retaining diverse talent would be easy to solve.
So what’s the solution? We now as an industry have the opportunity to be part of the DEIB in Web 3 Playbook, a resource for organizational leaders in the Web 3 space to learn about and enhance diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) within their organizations. The purpose of the playbook is to be an actionable resource and tool that will highlight a path forward for Web 3 that centers equity and inclusion.
Ioana Surpateanu, Chief Innovation Officer at Swash and Non-Executive Director of CryptoUk
Surpateanu is a leading voice in the world of Web3. She was recently appointed as non-executive Director of CryptoUK and supports multiple projects in crypto and Web3. She holds a variety of roles such as Chief Innovation Officer with Swash, a data monetisation platform and the largest data union in Web3, as an Advisor for Metalinq, a Layer 3 interoperability protocol and as an Executive Board Member for both The Block Space, a Web 3.0 education platform, and the Multichain Asset Managers Association.
“Web3 has been revamped and reinterpreted as a concept and nauseam and we’re only just commencing. As an individual who has left the perks and safety nets of various corporate and high profile political jobs behind, for a fully operational Web3 and crypto career, I can only say that I found what I’d been seeking : constant knowledge flows and the freedom to use them undeterred to build something different. Web3 does not belong to self-proclaimed, overnight experts in various verticals, nor to those teaching others about it from the comfort of their traditional jobs. Web3 is about the courage to deploy your intellectual attributes and expertise to challenge the status quo. Join us!”
The gender imbalance in Web3 ecosystems has significant implications for online representation, business transactions, and interpersonal interactions. This lack of diversity may have a greater impact on early adoption of web3 business tools.
Brands and digital platforms that enter Web3 spaces designed primarily by white men and used primarily by white men will miss out on a significant business and monetization opportunity from the start.
As start-ups and existing brands navigate the world of Web3 diverse teams will progress faster with varied decision making capabilities and creative thinking. As the industry expands, more opportunities will open up for women to step into leadership positions.
In the meantime, ecosystems can position themselves in front of female candidates with increased training, support and funding for female-led initiatives.