This article is the second in a two-part series on women in the world of cryptocurrency. To read the first article, click here.
As bad as the gender gap in the tech industry is, the crypto industry is even worse–it’s estimated that only 1-5% of crypto innovators, investors, and users are women.
The gender imbalance isn’t only in the area of innovators and inventors, but also users. There is significant potential for increases in market valuation and adoption for real-world use if the gender gap in the usage of cryptocurrencies can be reduced. On every end, the industry could lose out on fifty percent of its potential growth if it does not become more inclusive.
We asked several rising figures in the blockchain industry to tell us their thoughts about how to make the industry as a whole a more welcoming place for all individuals, regardless of gender.
Our interviewees are Kathy Berardi, a PR strategist and brand storyteller with nearly 20 years of experience who specializes in blockchain and cryptocurrency; Nea Simone, a New York Times best-selling author and the founder of BESPOKE Media Marketing; Laura Cramer, Director of Brand Strategy at Melrose PR, a blockchain and cryptocurrency communications agency; and Kim-Miller Anderson, president and founder of MSK Consulting Services.
The Newness of the Industry May Present Women with Unique Opportunities
For women who do manage to make their way into the cryptocurrency industry, the possibilities for influencing the future of the space may be higher than those in other, more established sectors.
Kim Miller-Anderson: “Being a woman at this stage of cryptocurrency’s development has allowed me to be in the forefront of a lot of the conversation, and has afforded me opportunities to interact with innovators, learn, and share my perspectives that might have been harder to come by later.
Because there are so few women emerging in this space at this moment, I feel that it’s a good time to be a woman with such a strong technology and financial services background.”
Indeed, Kathy Berardi seemed to agree that for women who may be considering beginning careers in crypto or reorienting their careers toward the cryptocurrency industry, the opportunities presented may be once-in-a-lifetime:
“Do it! The time is now to effect real change, not only in the cryptosphere, but in the world. Education, motivation and most importantly, discipline are all women need to take that first step into the forum, and opportunity will inevitably appear on the horizon.
Any limitations you see are self-imposed, so don’t bend to the will of an age-old discriminatory paradigm—be the change you want to see in the business world. The numbers are on our side: half the future of cryptos is female to reach its full market potential!”
The Best Advice? “Know Your Stuff”
We asked these leading women in the cryptocurrency industry what their advice for women–or really for anyone–hoping to enter into the space is. They seemed to agree–the best course of action is to simply be the best.
Nea Simone encourages individuals hoping to enter the crypto space to “read, research, network and share industry information. Stay abreast of trends and markets. Learn key terms and participate in conferences and meetups to explore opportunities to become involved in your area of interest.”
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Kim Miller-Anderson agreed, and added that the best course of action in the face of unprofessionalism and discrimination is to keep moving forward: “Know your stuff, be clear on what you do and don’t know, and don’t try to exaggerate your position or knowledge. If you treat others with respect and create clear boundaries, you will get what you give.
There are a lot of people jumping into this space because it is hot. But just like in the dotcom boom, the opportunists will eventually get weeded out, while those who are truly dedicated to learning, advancing, and improving this technology will remain.
If you want to truly make a place for yourself in this emerging market, you need to educate yourself, ask questions, and don’t worry too much about your gender getting in the way of your success. Lead with confidence and true curiosity, and you will attract people who want to help and engage with you.
Will you come across those who act unprofessionally? Of course! And when you do, just nod and smile and move on. There are so many great people out there willing to work with you and engage with you: don’t waste your time on those who aren’t worth it.”
How to Make the Crypto Industry More Inclusive
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and as such, fundamental change does not happen overnight. However, there are things that everyone in the cryptocurrency industry can do to make the space more inviting and help it reach its full potential.
Kathy Berardi uses her creative voice as a way to connect with others and to strengthen the presence of women in the cryptocurrency industry.
“As a storyteller, I think it’s important in any and all speaking, publishing, and other efforts to gain perspectives from a broad range of individuals with different backgrounds and experiences. I think this is important for the blockchain and cryptocurrency space – and I try to seek out those voices in the opportunities I’m presented with… demonstrating my commitment to creating a dialogue feels like a good first step in making the realm more attractive to other women.
Beyond that, it is important to seek out and identify female colleagues within the broader discussion who can join the pursuit with integrity and knowledge. Through our achievements, events, and media coverage, it will soon become clear to everyone that women are an invariable part of the crypto network and an essential component to its success.”
She said that the incorporation of women into the cryptocurrency as a whole will take time and intention, but the lightning-fast nature of the cryptocurrency industry could mean that a little effort could go a long way in terms of progress.
“Based on the slow incorporation of women into most business ventures throughout history, from its very recent inception, this industry has the potential to quickly expand beyond where it currently is.
Cryptos are currently shattering the mold of what finance means in this world, and as such a revolutionary, modern endeavor, I think the sky is the limit for the potential of what can be in the crypto landscape tomorrow by having discussions today that start with questions leading to realizations that create meaningful actions.”
As in all industries that have historically been dominated by men, the point of equality will not be reached without plan and purpose. As Nea Simone said:
“The Cryptocurrency industry is reflective of society as a whole and as such follows with a patriarchal approach. It is the new, ole boys club and like all gender-specific clubs it will take awareness and influence to make the space more diverse and inclusive.”
The individuals featured in this article will be speaking at the Crypto Funding Summit in California beginning on Wednesday, January 24.