Do Women Matter In Shaping Web3 ?

Do Women Matter In Shaping Web3 ?

From driverless cars to three-wheelers, innovation touches everything we see today.

While the idea of innovation knows no gender, the contributions of historical women innovators often go overlooked. When we talk of inventors, the limelight is usually taken up by a handful of names like Edison, Ford and Steve Jobs, who happen to be all men.

However, in the history of computer science, women like Grace Hopper and Jean Bartik were trailblazers, leading the field during its early days with women representing a large amount of computer programmers. With the rise of personal computing in the 1970s, the industry shifted towards male dominance, leading to a decline in female representation.

While today, female participation in tech are still lower than their male counterparts, we are seeing rising number of women getting involved and supporting each other.

Today, Web3 startups have only 13% female founders. Teams with a representation of both men and women stand at 10%.

Women in Web3 is a networking group that seeks to raise the profile and participation of women in blockchain. It started in 2022 and already has nearly nearly 700 members globally, showing the interest for greater participation in this arm of tech.

At their Women in Web3 Global Summit, held recently in Davos, they explored the contribution of female leadership in blockchain, stereotypes and barriers hindering progress.

Women leaders at this Summit offered insights on challenges faced by women in their career journey, underscoring the need for inclusion and diversity.

Being a woman in the startup funding race

At the Summit, Andra-Maria Maute, DLT Lead at Swiss Fintech Innovations, discussed funding related challenges faced by women entrepreneurs. The data suggests only 3.5% of equity investment reached women-led businesses in the first half of 2023.

Bitget’s study reveals a similar sentiment, summarising that only 6% of the total investment funds were secured by women-led startups.

“For so long, women have been the underdogs in investing, with historical underrepresentation in finance, asset management, venture capital, and wealth management,” says Andra-Maria.

While highlighting statistics sheds light on the situation, initiatives like Women in Web3 aim to provide tangible solutions. Access to resources and networks is paramount.

By offering women entrepreneurs access to resources, mentorship, and networks, they can navigate the funding landscape more effectively. These supportive ecosystems provide guidance on pitching, facilitate networking opportunities, and offer access to capital, significantly enhancing women’s chances of securing investment.

Andra Maria says this isnt just about giving money to things that wont deliver economically speaking: “the data shows that embracing diversity and inclusion not only fosters innovation but also leads to far more creative solutions and better economic performance.”

Studies indicate that diverse teams outperform homogeneous ones in innovation, productivity, and profitability. For example, Credit Suisse’s global analysis of 2,400 companies revealed that companies with at least one female board member performed better in case of return on equity and net income growth.

In the last ten years, deals of female-led companies grew more than double and as fast as male founded companies in the Europe region, suggests a report by Pitchbook.

Navigating Trust Issues Among Women: Promoting Collaboration

While many topics were discussed at this Davos Summit, Rising Partners International’s Sarah Kornfeld pointed at the elephant in the room: the need for greater trust between women.

Sarah, who spent two decades in Silicon Valley, says, “women are largely raised not to trust one another, not to trust we can understand technology, as well as think about success vertically, especially in the world of Web3, where everything is built to be horizontal.”

To address trust among women, she said that forums like this were helpful in fostering open communication, empathy, and collaboration. More broadly she saw that listening to each other’s experiences, building solidarity, and promoting accountability makes a big difference to performance.

Co-founded by Sarah, ‘She Is Near’ is a startup dedicated to educating women developers, even those moving from other careers into Web3. Operating at the grassroots level, this initiative focuses on women who initially explored blockchain for fun, helping them transition into coding roles.

The power of community

Web3 encompasses a range of topics that revolve around decentralized technologies, blockchain, cryptocurrency, and the next evolution of the internet. It represents a paradigm shift towards a more decentralized, transparent, and user-centric internet infrastructure. Topics within Web3 include decentralized finance (DeFi), non-fungible tokens (NFTs), decentralized applications (dApps), distributed autonomous organisations, DAOs, decentralized identity, smart contracts, and more.

The importance of Web3 to society lies in its potential to democratize access to financial services, promote transparency and accountability, mitigate data privacy concerns, and empower individuals to have greater control over their digital assets and identities.

Although it is in its infancy, it has the potential to revolutionize various sectors, including finance, healthcare, supply chain management, governance, and beyond, by fostering innovation, reducing reliance on intermediaries, and enabling peer-to-peer interactions.

Ultimately, Web3 aims to reshape the internet and empower individuals to participate in a more decentralized and equitable digital economy.

With this new era of innovation still under development, Senior Tax Associate at MLL Legal, Stephanie Fuchs, discussed the need for stimulating dialogue on these matters.

She says, “sometimes adversely critical and rejecting voices may seem so overwhelming, that it gets hard to believe your own inner voice.”

Stephanie says, “platforms like Women in Web3 play a crucial role in inspiring women-led contributions and providing opportunities to learn from fellow women visionaries to develop persistence.”

Hacken’s Co-founder, Yevheniia Broshevan shared her journey from the early days. She recalls, “I faced a lot of challenges, but I didn’t give up. My ambition to make Web3 a safer place was way bigger.

Diving further into this conversation, Yevheniia says, “Even in today’s times, not everyone takes you seriously, especially if you hold high-level positions.” There is a fundamental need to trust in your own abilities and fight stereotypes.

Yevheniia, a proud company founder who boasts up to 50% of senior female leaders in her team, says, “my mission has been about more than just succeeding in business; it’s about opening doors for other women too. I want to show that we can lead, innovate, and shape the future of technology.”

And its paying results. Hacken’s business of blockchain security audits had grown to more than 1,000 clients.

Not just for fairness but for better results

Founder of Women in Web3, Salama Belghali says, “our presence in general and here at Davos is a strong statement of our commitment, passion, and unshakeable belief in that women can make an important contribution in solving some of the world’s biggest problems”.

She sees Web3 as offering new ways to drive financial inclusion, do things more transparently, more efficiently and build trust.

As advocates for gender diversity and technological innovation, Women in Web3 strive to reshape the landscape for a more inclusive and impactful future.

The importance of representation emerged as one of the key themes of this Global Summit. Making efforts to amplify the contributions of women is not just crucial for business success but also in driving innovation in Web3.

As economist and MIT professor Van Reene says, “While having inventor exposure is always good, it is particularly strong when you see someone of your same gender.”

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