Gender stereotypes have conditioned the link between women and the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Boosting female adoption in the ecosystem is a matter of social programming.
Last December, the Center for the Governance of Change (CGC) of IE University published a study, entitled “Cryptocurrencies and the Future of Money”, focused on eight countries (Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Spain, France, Mexico, and the USA). It disclosed that the adoption by women in the field of cryptocurrencies is lower than that of men, especially in Latin America.
The research also revealed that the gap marked by the adoption of cryptocurrencies in Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil has been due to a lack of knowledge of how to acquire this technology rather than a lack of interest. Probably, it is not that women are not interested in cryptocurrencies, but that their approach to this world has been affected for other reasons.
History says that Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to travel to space 57 years ago. She was 26 when he wore an astronaut suit to show the world women’s capacity to contribute to the development of society. However, more than half a century since that feat, it is surprising that terms such as astronauts, engineer, and developers are still associated with men.
According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, a gender stereotype “is a generalized vision or a preconception about the attributes or characteristics that women and men possess or should possess or the roles that men and women play or should play.”
Therefore, gender stereotype is harmful when it limits people’s ability to develop their attributes or professional skills and to make decisions about their lives and plans. Analyzing the concept of gender stereotype and applying it to the field of cryptocurrencies, anyone could ask whether stereotypes are conditioning the adoption of cryptocurrencies among women or if they are little interested in crypto assets.
A survey conducted by Grayscale seems to have the key answer since it shows that 93% of the women that participated in the study indicated that they could be more open to this type of asset if they had more educational resources available. This would mean that greater education could lead to a greater female interest in Bitcoin and, therefore, in other cryptocurrencies and the rest of the ecosystem.
It is well known that the world is addressing the blockchain ecosystem as an opportunity to change the global financial structure and how society interacts with technology, which makes it crucial for women to participate. Possibly, that is the reason why some women are filling some of the highest positions in cryptography: Amber Baldet helped run the Blockchain Center of Excellence at JP Morgan for over two years; Elizabeth Rossiello founded a currency exchange and payment platform called BitPesa in Africa; Galia Benartzi co-founded Bancor, a liquidity protocol that facilitates the conversion of cryptocurrencies.
Several of these leaders have repeatedly expressed the vital importance of women driving female adoption in the world of cryptocurrencies. Baldet made it clear by saying that having someone at the design table representing the people that will use the technology can even be a matter of life or death.
She has discovered that women interact with technology and sees that it can be uncomfortable to share the GPS location or an e-mail receipt that can reveal a sensitive activity to an abusive partner. The same privacy features could make someone love an application as they can prevent ruining a surprise party. Diversity in development is not about a numbers game but about filling each other’s blind spots to build a safer and more useful product for everyone.
By Willmen Blanco