Sukhi Jutla, Contributing Writer
Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are the latest innovation in technology. There is a clear excitement about the opportunities blockchain presents and it is nearing a pivotal moment in history. And while this brand-new field is still heavily dominated by men, women are quickly closing in and making big names for themselves.
In fact, the blockchain space is the ideal place for women who want to make a big impact and shape the future of what we call as the advent of ‘the internet of value.’
Since the premise of blockchain is about democratising and giving all participants an equal and transparent playing field, this lends itself as the perfect place for women to make a real and lasting impact on this infant industry.
Blockchain no doubt is here to stay, and even traditional industries reluctant to change such as banking and insurance, are waking up to the fact that they need to pay attention to the changes blockchain can bring about.
While almost every tech sector is heavily dominated by men, women now have an opportunity to enter this dynamic industry and actively contribute to and shape the future of this technology.
Shaping the Next Era of Change
It’s important that women are a part of this movement so they too can shape the next era of change.
The lack of women in blockchain has nothing to do with lack of skill but lack of awareness about the technology and lack of a clear path into the emerging industries related to blockchain. It is important to encourage women to become active in the cryptocurrency space and lead by example.
The blockchain is not just the preserve of the finance industry which is heavily dominated by men. Blockchain can disrupt every industry known to humankind, including those traditionally dominated by women such as education, healthcare, social and other non-government sectors, which is all the more reason for them to get involved.
With the potential use cases of blockchain-based products being particularly vast, so are opportunities for women. Many professionals in the industry hold various roles. Although a technical skill-sets are most in demand, women in blockchain can take up various other roles – such as academic, commercial, regulatory, and public relations.
The great news is that there is an increasing number of women entering the blockchain space. Already, women are making big waves in blockchain, and leading by example. We must shine a light on their achievements because it can only help to bring more women into this field and show support and encouragement to those already breaking boundaries. Here are some of the notable women in blockchain:
• Toni Lane Casserly, CEO of CoinTelegraph: Toni is co-founder of one the biggest online publications for cryptocurrency
• Galia Benartzi, co-founder and business development of Bancor. Galia is a co-founder for Bancor, a digital token platform, which is one of the most successful initial coin offerings so far.
• Fereshteh Forough, founder and CEO at Code to Inspire: Born as an Afghan refugee in Iran, Fereshteh went on to found Code to Inspire, an after-school program that teaches girls in Afghanistan how to code and aims to decrease the gender gap in computer science fields in Afghanistan.
How can we get more women involved in blockchain?
As a female tech-founder working in the blockchain space, I’m often asked how I came into the blockchain space and the answer is simple: I followed my curiosity.
I spent over a decade working in finance and banking where I worked closely with the technology teams. During conversations, I would sometimes hear the word blockchain bandied around which piqued my interest. Fuelled by my curiosity I started to look into this field but only actively jumped in a year ago when I decided I wanted to become a vocal part of this rising industry.
I realized that the absence of female mentors can create a barrier to entry but this should be seen as an opportunity for future female leaders. Many women are unfamiliar with blockchain technology and obtaining technical knowledge about the technology can serve as a challenge, especially when the information is varied and scattered across the internet.
And the only way you can participate and make a difference is to get involved. Here are my tips for getting more involved in blockchain, if you are a beginner.
1. Join local meet-ups for blockchain
Being based in London, I am part of multiple ‘Women in Blockchain’ groups where we meet on a monthly basis and share our learning on the latest topics and trends in the blockchain space. Sometimes we invite mentors and speakers to share their experiences to learn from.
2. Attend conferences
There are hundreds of conferences happening globally on blockchain. Spend the day immersing yourself in learning about blockchain, talking to the exhibitors and other attendees. See where your curiosity is piqued and where you would like to learn more.
3. Join a start-up in the blockchain space
If you’re looking for a new opportunity, join a start-up in the blockchain space. This is the best way to get hands-on learning about this technology. You don’t have to be a tech expert but you can still help to build and shape products when you understand the basics of how blockchain works.
4. Attend courses and seminars on blockchain
Similar to attending meet-ups attending workshops on this topic will help to give you deeper insights into how this industry works and to network with other members of the industry.
5. Reach out to mentors and role models
I believe we can all learn from each other so don’t hesitate to reach out to other women working in blockchain and ask for their help. It’s important that women support other women onto the blockchain ladder especially when just starting out. If you are already a working in this space, think about mentoring other women or speak at events to raise the profile of women working in blockchain.
We can collectively help to create an atmosphere and environment which encourages more women to consider careers and opportunities in blockchain in the following ways:
- Diversity and inclusion: Reaching out and providing opportunities for those who lack it
- Disruption through education: Bringing blockchain education to different communities
- Networking opportunities: Bridging information gaps to people with all educational and professional backgrounds
This is an industry where anyone with a great idea can disrupt. The possibilities for women are endless and I’m looking forward to seeing the amazing things women do to supercharge this emerging industry.
About the author
Sukhi Jutla is an IBM Blockchain Foundation Developer and in April 2018 made global headlines when she became the World’s First #1 Bestselling ‘Blockchain’ Author.