Cryptocurrency, NFT, metaverse, DeFi — these buzzwords and new applications, all underpinned by blockchain technology, demonstrate the increasing popularity of crypto adoption worldwide. Prevalence, nevertheless, does not necessarily come with a good reputation. The crypto world, to a large extent, is still portrayed as the Wild West dominated by male speculators and bro culture, reinforced by recent scandals and the market plunge. Female engagement and leadership in crypto, however, can help change this perception and build a more positive image for the industry.
The cryptocurrency industry is dominated by men. A recent survey found that less than 5% of crypto founders and less than 10% of crypto fund partners are women. According to a different report, only 26% of current crypto holders in the U.S. are women. The lack of female leadership and investors could decrease the diversity of the crypto world, and worse, could impede the progress of the industry.
Different reasons contribute to this.
Women often seem outwardly less confident in some fields, including the financial world. A Fidelity study suggests that only 33% of women feel confident in their ability to make investment decisions.
But we could also interpret this figure in another way. Female investors have a more sober financial perspective and so may be less willing to invest in risky assets such as cryptocurrencies, which are usually considered highly volatile. Without sufficient understanding, they are not inclined to invest in crypto assets on a whim. Reliable user education could help boost crypto adoption among women.
A lack of confidence could also explain the lack of female leadership in this industry. Women in management may be skeptical about their capacity for leadership and hesitate to speak out in workplaces dominated by men. Serving as a CMO for my previous job in a fintech company, I was the only woman on the management team. I felt unconfident and sometimes frustrated.
Even if you believe in your own leadership ability, you may very well become discouraged by the stereotypes and gender-based bias encountered by women entrepreneurs. A PitchBook report found that female founders raised just 2% of venture capital funding in 2021. This low figure reminds me of when I struggled to raise funds for my own tech startup in 2017. I received similar responses from several venture investors: “We are fond of you and your project, but we don’t plan to invest in female entrepreneurs, especially those who are married but with no children yet.” What a slap in the face.
We need to bear in mind that most characteristics that are attached to a certain gender are in fact universal qualities shared by all human beings, and it is time to break gender stereotypes, attract more women to the crypto world, and embrace the benefits of higher female participation.
Having worked in a male-dominated management team before and now working in a women-leading one, I have first-hand experience on how female engagement and leadership help the company in a multitude of ways, including a more positive work environment and improved product enhancement.
As I embark on my journey at Bitget, I have found that there are many capable female leaders, such as our CEO Sandra, chief marketing officer Yvonne and chief product officer Daphne. Women are unafraid to share opinions and insights, we always offer honest and helpful advice and support to each other, and this makes me no longer feel hesitant to speak out.
Meanwhile, women are better equipped with the power of empathy, a core advantage for those in management positions. Their involvement could improve company culture and create a more diversified and inclusive workplace, while employees, especially the female ones, are more willing to express their views in a more open working atmosphere.
Women’s smarts and power can not only augment the company’s capabilities in a mental way, but also in a financial way. Their perspectives and participation help to optimize business planning and product design, and spur innovation and changes. This is because women sometimes trade and invest in a different way. Female employees and management have a deeper understanding and sense of empathy for the challenges and dilemmas faced by the group.
Furthermore, female entrepreneurs and players can act as role models, to help other women gain greater confidence in investing and overcome their apprehension of crypto, and attract talent, especially other women who aspire to join this industry. That would benefit not only the company but also the industry, to expand the talent base and boost user acquisition.
So, in a nutshell, female engagement plays an important role in honing tools and recruiting talent, better preparing companies for the long run.
Gender inequality is the elephant in the room in many corners of society, but there shouldn’t be one in the crypto industry, as one of its original ethos is to create an inclusive and equal system that is accessible to different groups of people. Simply noticing this is not enough, as long-term efforts by industry players are still needed to tackle these problems.
To me, getting to know crypto investing and stepping into this world is such a fortunate coincidence, and I really want to introduce it to more people and invite more talents to join us. In July, Bitget partnered with Juventus soccer players to donate to a Los Angeles-based NGO DIY Girls, whose mission is to increase girls’ interest and success in technology and engineering by making innovative educational experiences and mentor relationships. Their aim is to change the way girls perceive tech careers, and my aim is the same — I want more ladies in the crypto industry.
Research and studies on women’s perception toward crypto investing are necessary to spur their demands and better understand their preferences, and to better understand what holds women back from investing and participating in the crypto world.
Crypto companies are responsible to provide more internship and employment opportunities for women and create women-friendly work environments.
Cryptocurrency and blockchain should benefit the masses by creating more job opportunities, removing barriers to financial independence and other means for people from different backgrounds and experiences.
To equip women with cryptocurrency knowledge, help them leverage this new technology and benefit from it, such as achieving career advancement and elevating social status, should be a collective goal for us. The return on investment will create a better understanding of cryptocurrencies and reduce the stigma around them, leading to a better version of the crypto world.