While cryptocurrencies are not the exclusive domain of men, men are nevertheless twice as likely to get involved as women. Yet another inequality in the world of finance and tech, which some “cyber-feminist” communities are attempting to combat.
It’s the same old story each year. Around the time of International Women’s Day, the media takes the occasion to point out the underrepresentation of women in the tech world. And the world of cryptocurrency, at the crossroads of tech and finance, is no stranger to such inequality.
According to a US survey conducted by the company Acorns and media outlet CNBC published in August 2021, men invest twice as much as women in cryptocurrencies (16% versus 7%). Yet 43% of those interested in investing in Bitcoins are women, according to estimates from another study released in 2019 by US investment fund Grayscale. So what’s stopping them from jumping in?
“Cryptocurrencies are among some of the riskiest financial investments today. However, risk aversion is stronger among women: because it’s less ingrained in our social construct, but also because women earn lower salaries than men. They are also often the ones who manage expenses related to children. All these reasons make them less likely to get into cryptocurrencies,” analyzes Léa Lejeune, economic journalist in France and founder of “Plan Cash,” a feminist newsletter [in French] “that talks about money.”
Some will argue that the fact that cryptocurrencies are emerging at a time when more efforts are being made to support women in tech may work in their favor. A view not necessarily shared by Léa Lejeune’s impression of the landscape in France: “There are certainly initiatives to bring more women into tech, but not at the core. The number of women in engineering schools is decreasing, and the number of women developers or miners is still insufficient.
“As for women being hired at crypto companies, they are still too often relegated to roles in communications or human resources. I think we need to take a step forward in the representation of women in tech so that it also applies to crypto. But unfortunately, we’re not there yet,” she adds.
“Girl power” and the crypto world
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However, there is a rise in cyber-feminist communities: accounts on social networks, private discussion groups. One example is “Boys Club,” founded by the American Deana Burke. This collective of women and non-binary people, closed to cisgender men, describes itself as a “a no bro zone for the crypto curious.” A way to counter some of the male enclaves cultivated by some masculinists in the sector, who describe themselves as “crypto bros.”
Similar initiatives also exist in France. Notably La Mineuse, an Instagram account founded by Amandine Claude that delivers advice to women who want to get into cryptocurrency and NFTs. Or the “Crypto Baddies,” a community for girls, gays, non-binary and “Web3 baddies.”
There is also Françoise Gadot, aka “Mamie crypto,” [Grandma crypto], who organizes workshops for learning about blockchains and cryptocurrencies, through her program “Les Hackeuses,” which encourages women to claim their place in blockchains and cryptos.
Such “safe spaces” put women in the spotlight, where they can learn about cryptocurrencies and ask questions, without fear of being ashamed or feeling illegitimate. “The fact that you know you are talking to a real person and not just a pseudonym without knowing who is behind it also represents a guarantee of trust,” points out Léa Lejeune.
By dint of covering the subject, the journalist herself has ended up engaging in this mode of investment on a personal basis: “I started out at the end of 2021, when the prices started to fall (and have continued to fall since). I decided to invest after studying the subject and the amount of risk I could afford to take. I waited for the ‘right time’ to take the plunge,” she says.
“Of course, the goal is not to jump into ‘crypto-everything’ and move all your savings there, but rather to think about a strategy: what shares you decide to invest in and why, etc. So it’s accessible, even to women who have to manage expenses related to children,” she says.
She adds, “Even if no one can predict this with certainty, I think there is a high probability that cryptocurrencies will continue to grow strongly in the coming years. So it would be a shame to leave all that money to men!”
This interview has been translated from French.
This article was published via AFP Relaxnews