Recent statistics show that the shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have affected women at a much higher rate than men – both financially and professionally. This is deemed a she-cession by reports that have been following recessions since 1949.
In Europe, the blockchain and crypto industry is working hard to bridge this gap and use technology as a tool for diversity. Consider:
- United Kingdom-based crypto exchange CoinCorner revealed that the share of women among its users is now 14.7%, with a 47% increase in the number of female sign ups occurring in Q1 2020.
- In March, Madrid-based financial platform 2gether revealed that 23% of its app users are women aged between 26 to 45 and of different professions such as accountants, lawyers and economists. As the report points out, female users spend cryptocurrency in the same way as they would spend their fiat money.
- At the same time, some individual countries showed an increase of more than 100% in the number of female crypto users. Greece stands out most, with a record growth of 163.67%. There was a 58.55% growth in female users in the blockchain and crypto industries in Europe in Q1 of 2020 according to a report by CoinMarketCap.
Behind the success of Europe’s blockchain offering, three women in particular contribute to ensuring diversity and equality of opportunity are priorities: Ambre Soubiran, Bettina Boon Falleur and Simona Pop.
Ambre Soubiran is the CEO of Kaiko, a company enabling businesses to build data-driven solutions leveraging crypto assets’ financial market data to build strategies, products, and services. She said “at Kaiko, we have 30% women overall, and 62% women if we carve out the engineering team!”
Bettina Boon Falleur is a part of Ethereum France, a non-profit organization created in 2017 by a group of passionate early adopters. She conducts interviews with key figures in the industry to try to simplify blockchain notions and show that not only developers are part of the ecosystem. Bettina is also part of a DAO of women in blockchain, Meta Gamma Delta, which holds the goal of increasing the presence of women in the ecosystem through conferences such as Devcon and the Paris-based EthCC. Bettina said, “the Ethereum community is an inclusive ecosystem where creative and divergent ideas are welcome, is driven by developers and engineers, as opposed to marketers and businessmen and everyone is welcome.”
Simona Pop is the Head of Community at Status. She is an active Ethereum ecosystem steward working across community engagement initiatives, educational programs and real world use of crypto. Her work is all about broadening access to decentralized applications for everyone, empowering communities through token economics. Simona said “The cycle of funding must be improved and shifted from favoring mainly projects led by white men in privileged geographies. The issue we have been having for decades is that capital doesn’t flow easily enough for women. And we should change that in web3. We need a multitude of perspectives at the table in order to avoid replicating what we already have and what is clearly not working. I believe that blockchain and crypto are the main avenue to achieve equality. The focus on anonymity, on code and the potentially short path to a degree of success can all contribute to democratizing and equalizing the access to resources.”
There are many factors which can help make the blockchain industry more gender balanced and many key figures in the European scene are behind this success. Ambre said, “more diversity in tech-dominated industries begins by having more girls excited by STEM subjects, as early as primary school, it may take a generation but it can happen through education, I really think we’re getting there.” Simon added “perhaps it will be the permissionless nature of the blockchain space that will finally break the pattern.”
Will the rest of the world to follow Europe’s efforts? The industry would be further behind without the formidable women who are at the core of many successful companies, events and groups who ensure diversity will be achieved.