Karen Cohen, CEO Blockconsulting Group
Blockchain technology is revolutionising the IT industry with its trusted and permissioned approach to data verification and storage. However, the industry is still perceived not to be attractive for women.
Perhaps the answer comes from the industry’s origins, Bitcoin. Ten years ago, when Bitcoin was created, it was put forward as a solution to remove intermediaries such as banks and government from financial transactions.
Bitcoin is famed for ‘banking the unbanked’, by allowing people to download an app to their smart phones enabling instant crypto trading
By 2017 there were over 11.5 million active crypto wallets[i]. However,the technology behind Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, while brilliant, is still not user-friendly and until it becomes safer and simpler, we’re not going to see mainstream adoption.
Last year female cryptocurrency buyers accounted for only 8% of the total market. Although this was an increase 5% the year before, it is an indication that women will continue to shy away from things that are hard-to-use. We’re a minority at Crypto Meetups as the movement is still dominated by male techno geeks that love to talk about buying, selling and using cryptocurrency.
Rosa Thompson, co-founder of Women in Blockchain Melbourne talks about why the movement started “Walking into a Cryptocurrency Meetup can be daunting, for both men and women, it’s like speaking a whole new language, which is why we created Women in Blockchain (WIB) meetups. A place for women to learn about the technology and not feel afraid to ask questions.”
Blockchain start-ups create new opportunities for more traditional jobs such as finance, operations, and marketing. But in general, the start up community is still male dominated, with male founders currently representing 77% of Australian Start ups.
As Blockchain is one of the fastest growing emerging technologies it is imperative to even the playing field for women. We must focus on including women advisors at all levels from the Board, right throughout the organisation.
Over the last two years, we’ve seen the rise of some prominent female founders in Blockchain technology here in Australia such as Dr Jemma Green from Powerledger, Katrina Donaghy from Civic Ledger, Ruth Hatherley from Moneycatcha, Emma Weston from Agridigital and Leanne Kemp from Everledger. Sophie Gilder from CBA has also led the charge on some largescale global blockchain projects.
Women in Blockchain meetings give us an opportunity to speak with some of these leaders and to demystify technology for women who would otherwise not hear about these projects.
In her Forbes Magazine article, Dr Jemma Green stated “In crypto and blockchain less than nine percent of the current community are female and the number of female programmers in this space is even less.
Having more women in leadership positions in technology companies gives other women something more relatable to strive for. When women feel supported, and are willing to help one another, incredible things can happen.”
For women to get involved in a Blockchain Career, a quick search on SEEK.com shows that there are currently opportunities in technical development and programming, legal, project management and account management.
To upgrade your skills the Blockchain Collective have recently started the first Advanced Diploma in Applied Blockchain which can help you gain formal business qualifications. You can enrol at http://bccollective.io
If you want to volunteer your time, there are some great start ups looking for female talent and advisors. You can go along to a start up pitch night or Women in Blockchain event and offer your services, it is a warm and welcoming community.
Women in Blockchain operates in Australia in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Brisbane however we’re part of a global network of “Women on the Block”. Created in NYC by Alexandra Levin and Cissy Ma to promote empowerment of women to ensure diversity and inclusion in blockchain technology.
“Globally events like Women on the Block (WOB) continue to lead the way. Women are elevated, educated and encouraged to be involved in the emerging and disruptive blockchain industry.” Katrina Donaghy, Co- Founder and Co-CEO of Civic Ledger .
“It’s vitally important that women, and by communication default, their children, families and networks, are included in learning conversations around Blockchain technology, as its implications in and impact on our planet’s future, are phenomenal.’ Abheeti Kathryn Pass, Women in Blockchain Perth organiser and co-founder of Crypto Clothesline Podcast.https://www.cryptoclothesline.com