Blockchain, along with finance and cyber-security, is notorious as being one of the world’s worst industries for female representation. In the UK, only around 5% of people working in blockchain are women. In Canada, this is 3%. Even the most promising statistics for the global blockchain community indicate that women make up only 9% of active participants with around the same percent (8.5%) of start-ups having a female founder or-founder.
The Crypto Curry Club runs some of the most popular and best attended events in the UK on blockchain and cryptocurrency and are regularly congratulated for our attendees comprising 20-30% women. This is rare for this very male-dominated industry.
Even UNICEF, an organisation known for striving for gender diversity and with a staff comprising of 70% women, could only count one female founder in the six blockchain start-ups their Innovation Unit funded.
In the UK, the Crypto Curry Club did some extensive research into the blockchain ecosystem. Of the topmost active 100 blockchain and crypto pre series A start-ups, only 19% had a female founder. In most cases this was not the only founder, but one of several cofounders.
On the trading or investment side, only 5-7% of crypto users, traders and investors are women. In 2017, only $5 billion out of a wealth creation of $85 billion, or 5.88%, was obtained by women.
The authors spent 6 months talking to the top 100 women leading some of the most exciting blockchain projects and initiatives from start-ups to enterprises around the world. They couldn’t settle on 100, so here’s our findings for the 101 women leading the way in blockchain and cryptocurrency.
The 101 women are in no particular order other than industry sector.
In speaking to these amazing 101 women, the Crypto Curry Club Duo of Erica Stanford and Nikki Doll-Steinburg, found some tips and pieces of advice came up again and again. These are their key learnings from the 2020 top 101 women in blockchain:
• If you want a job in crypto or blockchain- get actively involved yourself- buy some crypto and send it about, download crypto wallets and become familiar with them, do what you can to be actively involved as well as academically
• Take courses! You don’t need to pay for expensive courses, there are excellent free and low cost courses available on Coursera and MOOCs from universities around the world where you can learn and get certifications in any aspect of crypto and blockchain that you are interested in. These courses will be looked on favourably by companies and employers.
• Network network network! Get to meet as many people as you can. The crypto and blockchain space is small and friendly and people will often go out of their way to help you or make introductions for you. Find the best in-person networking events locally to you, and speak to as many people as you can. Speak to the organisers who, if they’re good, will introduce you to the most relevant people there. Whilst we’re still in lockdown, connect with people on LinkedIn and get to know people virtually. We recommend the Crypto Curry Club in the UK :)
• Spend some time working in a crypto or blockchain startup, even if its short term or on a voluntary basis - you will get invaluable front line experience of the realities of working in the space
• Be proactive. The space and tech is changing very fast. If there is a particular project or company you are interested in, reach out to them! • This is a male-dominated space but it is known that women leaders drive revenues and growth, be confident in your own abilities and be part of driving the change you want to see.
And here is Jillian Godsil in the media section
Jillian Godsil Blockchain Journalist
Jillian Godsil is a journalist, broadcaster and writer living and working in Ireland. She changed the law in 2014 to allow bankrupts to run for public office. She ran for Europe and earned 11,500 votes with a null budget and as an independent, on an anti-austerity ticket. Jillian was named as one of the 50 Most Influential Women In Blockchain. Jillian has been featured in Al Jazeera, Russia Today, BBC2 Newsnight, UK Telegraph, RTE, TV3, Huffington Post, New York Times The Irish Times, Vogue Italia and the Irish Independent amongst other publications. In blockchain, Jilian has written extensively for many publications including Blockleaders, CoinRivet and Irish Tech News and interviewed many of the leaders in blockchain.
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What led your interest in blockchain?
I have worked in the Fintech industry since my first job in London working for JP Morgan as a graduate systems analyst. Then in the 2008 Financial Crash I was negatively impacted including losing my home to the banks and my business collapsing. As a result, I became an accidental activist in the areas of homelessness and become very anti the banks. So when a friend introduced me to the concept of blockchain and how intermediaries such as banks could be made redundant that put a big smile on my face. It still does.
How did you go about getting writing jobs in blockchain?
I am an NUJ freelance journalist and write across many industries. I also have specialist Fintech experience, so it was a natural to seek to write for blockchain platforms.
If anyone wants to work as a journalist or in media in blockchain or emerging tech, what tips would you give them?
Follow the main tech sites and read the articles. Start writing your own and then look to place them on your own blog or other platforms. Getting paid as a freelance journalist is always tough – typically you need to get some experience before editors will commission work. So, if you can’t get paid work initially then try and get your articles on the most prominent platforms around. Then look at other news sites and pitch to the editors. Keep pitching – refusal is very common and commissions are very rare. Another avenue would be to approach a company in the sector and see if you can write articles for them, you’re much more likely to get paid work this way.
What are the best tips you’ve picked up from those you’ve interviewed?
I don’t tend to find that I pick up (financial) tips from the people I have interviewed – however, I have found some really interesting and intelligent people in the process. I love learning new things, new visions and new ideas.
What do you see as the biggest use cases of blockchain in the next few years?
Tokenisation is going to be huge. Also alternative digital monies – as the conventional world keeps on printing money we’ll be buried under a pyre of worthless fiat notes.
What do you feel needs to happen to get more women working in tech?
What you can see you can be.
There is a lot of talk about women being risk adverse and since blockchain and cryptocurrency is often associated with the dark net (or at least it was in the beginning) it was touted for the reason women did not engage. But these myths date back to unbalanced surveys of the ‘50s where women were asked about financial instruments. Since women typically did not work at professional levels in financial institutions, they were wary, and this has translated into the common myth that women are risk adverse. Conversely, other surveys of the same time asked if women would cook new dishes if entertaining at home and they answered in the positive, thereby displaying an ability to manage, even embrace risk. Anyone, if asked about unfamiliar subjects, is more likely to respond cautiously. So, debunking the risk issue, the real reason is that culturally women have not been encouraged into tech in general and blockchain tech specifically is that they don’t see other role models. Girls are still dressed in pink, boys in blue. There is nothing wrong with those colours, just not the uniformity of application. It was only a 100 years ago that women got the vote, it’ll take time to populate these new professional (tech professions) with women. And conversely by the way, men need to be encouraged into the caring professions.
What difference do you think it would make to business and the economy (and even happiness within companies) if there were more women working in tech and in senior roles?
We all know that a balanced work population makes for a more enjoyable, productive environment. We know that empirically. However, over the past decade studies by Nordea Bank, McKinsey and Credit Suisse have all computed that by placing women in senior, decision making roles, the bottom line of those companies has improved by orders of between 10% and 30%. So not only is the workplace more congenial, the company is more successful. It’s a no brainer
Read the report here