Switzerland-based NEAR Foundation and Forkast are partnering on the inaugural Women in Web3 Changemakers 2022 List to celebrate the talented women contributing to grow and develop the Web 3.0 economy.

“Women in Web3 Changemakers” is an initiative to acknowledge the industry’s female founders, engineers, developers, scientists, investors, and leaders in the industry who are laying the foundation for growth and innovation for the next generation.

The top 10 “Changemakers” will be decided through public nominations — anyone can nominate herself or a female colleague by joining the Women of Web3 decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) — and vote from a shortlist produced by the DAO Council.

“We are thrilled to be launching our first global Women of Web3 Changemakers list, which aims to shed a light on the incredible female talent that is shaping our sector and serving as agents of social change,” said NEAR Foundation CEO Marieke Flament. 

Forkast is proud to partner with NEAR Foundation to identify the Women in Web3 Changemakers who are writing our future,” said Forkast founder and editor-in-chief Angie Lau.

watch Marieke Flament’s interview here

The three criteria for winning an award are inclusion, influence and innovation. Winners would be selected on the basis of ideas that enable sustainable and socially impactful change, the originality of it and how these projects are influencing communities and peers. 

Those selected will be included in the “Women in Web3 Change Makers” list, which will be shared with the press and the global community. 

On its part, Forkast will feature the winners in a special four-part series that will air across its platforms and distribution network to voice every award-winner’s journey and contributions to Web3. 

While nominations can be submitted online until Aug. 15, the “Changemakers” will be announced at a celebratory reception at NEARCON, the organization’s annual flagship event in Lisbon, Portugal, on Sept. 13. 

Founders of Web3 companies that will make the list will have the opportunity to meet investors and pitch for funding at the event. 

Why it matters

Technology is a massive enabler, but without diverse and inclusive team building, several biases run the risk of getting transferred to the next generation of technology, according to NEAR Foundation’s Flament.

For instance, Alphabet Inc., the parent of search engine giant Google, dominates about 95% of the web search market in the world. But biases hardcoded into its algorithm by a predominant demographic can affect search results, Flament said. “We cannot let that happen for Web3,” she said. 

NEAR Foundation’s association with Forkast also aims to promote local talent shaping the future of the web in regional languages who may otherwise not find a global platform to showcase their achievements. 

Not alone

“Sometimes women are not taken seriously because there is this preconceived notion that women are better at non-tech jobs,” said Aditi Chopra, founder of Superwomen DAO, a women-led community enabling education and collaboration for women in Web3. 

superwomen Dao
Superwomen DAO community members meet up. Image credit: Superwomen Dao Twitter page.

Web3 is in the building stage right now where developers are of prominent value, and women tend to not be listened to, Chopra told Forkast.

The Superwomen community has over 1,300 women members helping onboard more women. The members are mostly from India, the Middle East and Singapore, and range from founders of Web3 startups to developers and game designers, all contributing to the Web3 ecosystem, Chopra said. 

She started Superwomen DAO in May this year, after she observed issues with Web 2.0 in terms of gender parity — men joining in as core developers while women took up positions which were not in the decision-making roles. 

“We can put every gender on the same starting line — that’s how Superwomen was started,” Chopra said regarding the community, which is involved with education, resource sharing and mentorship. 

Diversity and inclusion 

According to a study by crypto education website Crypto Head, less than 5% of all crypto entrepreneurs are women. 

The firm, in its analysis, found that of the 121 listed founders, only five were women, pointing to the fact that the industry is still dominated by men.

“The other stat, which I also think is shocking, is that less than a third of wallet holders are women,” NEAR Foundation’s Flament pointed out. Having women in the Web3 Changemaker list and showcasing their talent would help put them in front of investors for capital required to lead the change, she said.