The world of Web3 has opened up new opportunities for individuals to participate in a more open, transparent internet and create wealth. However, despite the potential benefits of this emerging technology, women face unique challenges in the Web3 space. From a lack of diversity in the industry to gender bias in funding, women encounter significant obstacles that can make it harder for them to thrive in the decentralized web.
To better understand these challenges, Cointelegraph interviewed several women in Web3. Devon Martens, principal blockchain engineer at Sweet NFTs, shared her observation that the crypto industry, like many other technology and financial sectors, is male-dominated. Martens noted that this lack of representation can be a barrier to entry for women who may perceive themselves as outside the norm.
Martens shared that she rarely sees women in the C-suite when looking at new Web3 companies and their management, noting:
“It is hard to pursue something as a concept and feels a little more realistic when you see people in those roles already. That is why it is so important to talk about what we can do to cultivate talent across the board, including encouraging women to get into the space.”
Similarly, Sandy Carter, chief operating officer and head of business development at Unstoppable Domains, noted that women make up only 12.7% of the Web3 workforce, highlighting the need for greater diversity within the industry. In her experience, there is a significant gender gap among those applying for jobs. Carter shared:
“When I announced I was joining Unstoppable Domains, I included a link to apply for another role at the company. Out of over 1,500 applications for that job, only 3% of the total applicants were women, and this stuck with me.”
Briana Marbury, CEO of the Interledger Foundation, discussed the issue of gender stereotypes in the crypto industry, noting that the space is often perceived as being dominated by men and characterized by a strong “bro culture” that is unwelcoming to anyone who falls outside of the “pale and male” demographic. Unfortunately, this stereotype can dissuade women from participating in the space. Marbury added:
“People, women especially, often self-deselect themselves from pursuing potentially lucrative, rewarding and purposeful career pathways in crypto — or technology more broadly — because they believe ‘it’s not for people like them.’ Intentionality is key here. There needs to be a lot of intention in the crypto space in shifting old tropes into new and inclusive narratives.”
According to Daniela Barbosa, executive director of the Hyperledger Foundation, diversity is crucial in technology development. She stated, “Study after study reveals that diversity in technology creation produces better outcomes and more robust technologies — that diverse communities are simply stronger communities." However, she also acknowledged that exclusionary behaviors can influence community cultures and that this is a challenge in the crypto industry.
Barbosa highlighted that the crypto industry has a significant focus on developers and finance/traders — two communities where, unfortunately, women are still underrepresented. “In crypto, I still see a lot of toxic behavior, which involves aggressive language and insinuation towards particular groups or individuals,” she shared. This toxic behavior can further discourage women from entering the industry, creating a double-whammy challenge when it comes to gender inclusivity in the blockchain and crypto space.
Related: Binance co-founder He Yi says, 'forget gender' and focus on mindset to make it in Web3
The lack of gender diversity in the industry is a pressing issue. As Barbosa pointed out, diversity leads to better outcomes, and the exclusion of any group can hinder progress and innovation. Creating a more inclusive culture that supports and encourages women to pursue careers in the Web3 industry is essential.
Promoting gender diversity and inclusivity in the Web3 space is needed to create a more vibrant, innovative, flourishing industry. By taking intentional steps to address the unique challenges facing women in the industry, the ecosystem can help ensure that Web3 is a space that is welcoming and accessible to all.