It’s long been noted that women in blockchain are a minority group. Many have called for a greater focus on encouraging women to be given the opportunities and skills they need to make their mark on this growing industry. But although the numbers may seem small, that isn’t to say that women in the space aren’t already contributing in massive ways.
Each week, we talk to women in blockchain about their careers, their purpose, and what they want to see from the future of the industry. These interviews aren’t just motivational – they are inspiration for other women who are looking to start their journey in blockchain. Below, you can find the stories of some of the most influential women we’ve spoken to.
Crystal Rose Pierce: The blockchain powerhouse who started coding at 11
Prominent technologist, entrepreneur and investor, Crystal Rose Pierce shares her story that began at a very early age. As the CEO and co-founder of Sensay, she helps users to take back privacy over their data. This is done through SENSE private messaging and decentralised applications on the blockchain.
“The philanthropic part of me really respects the blockchain philosophy of open source and decentralisation,” she says. “And as for what the anarchists term as going against the government and institutions, the goal is more about having equal access and fairer distribution.”
Not only is she an innovator in the space, but she passes on her experiences to other women and younger female students. As co-founder of ShEOS and the sheEOS Foundation, she helps to provide computer science scholarships to young women.
Pivotal in balancing on the gender inequality, Crystal’s contribution to blockchain is philanthropic on multiple levels. Read her full interview to find out her views on blockchain throughout 2019 and the importance of being an influencer in this space.
Georgina Brett: Women in blockchain need to take bigger risks
The industry, which is still full of many unknowns, can be a daunting place. Georgina Brett, Chief of Staff at The Reserve, introduces projects to crypto-focused investors and fund managers. She recognises some of the limitations in the blockchain space, including the fact that it’s currently harder than ever for companies to raise relevant funds since the cryptocurrency market crashed.
Speaking directly on the topic of women in blockchain, she goes on to stress that gender inequality is noticeable. Her company is on a drive to recruit more women, as only on in 40 applicants at the moment are female. She cites the historical fact that there are few women in STEM subjects as a potential reason for the lack of women in blockchain.
“I think women need to take bigger risks and get comfortable being out of their comfort zones,” she says
“Generally I have noticed, women tend to be more cautious and second-guess their right to be a voice of authority, whereas men are more likely to act like the authority whether they deserve to be there or not.”
“In short: men are better at ‘faking it until you make it’. In a nascent industry like blockchain, voices of authority can be people with six months’ experience and stepping into authoritative roles is very achievable if you have demonstrable value you can bring to the table.”
Georgina explains that making the leap into the blockchain decision has been a life changing decision for her.
Yaliwe Soko: How Africa is embracing blockchain technology
It’s not just in the UK and US that blockchain is an important industry. Africa has seen a serious uptake in blockchain usage but Yaliwe Soko, Chairwoman of the Blockchain Association of Africa, explains that it can be difficult to be taken seriously as a woman in blockchain.
She empathises with the fear that some women will feel about the industry. Explaining that the African cryptocurrency space has been badly burned in the past, she highlights that there are still a lot of trust issues. Soko wants to change this, using her influential position to be at the forefront of driving awareness and blockchain education across the continent.
“It’s very difficult to be recognised like this, especially as an African woman. Mostly, there are trust issues.
“When I’ve been speaking at an event, because I have a petite frame, people have asked me if I am the speaker, which is patronising in a way. Someone else asked me if I was nervous before I was giving a speech and I am not nervous!”
She adds “it was an opportunity for me to own this and whenever I’m on a panel I ensure I command my presence in the way I come across.”
Looking for like-minded leaders, she wants to encourage other women to follow suit. She wants women to embrace the industry and realise their own potential within it. Read her interview in full to find out what else she has to say about women in blockchain and the role they play in Africa.
It’s clear that encouragement and education are two of the most important factors when it comes to including women in blockchain. It’s important to give them opportunities, a fair platform, and the confidence to push ahead. These are just three of our women in blockchain stories. To explore what other women are up to and how they are leading the way, visit our dedicated section.