Education • 8 min read
By Sophia Cosby
Whether it’s International Women’s Day or just any old Wednesday, it’s important to acknowledge the very-real gender gap that exists in both the financial world and cryptosphere to understand the effects it has on women’s (financial) lives. In honour of this year’s IWD theme “Embrace Equity”, we’re taking a look at what gender equity means in the world of investing, why crypto needs more women, and what we can do to get there.
Let’s start by clearing up one big misconception: gender equality and gender equity are not the same thing.
Equality means giving everyone the exact same resources — regardless of their starting point. Equity means giving resources on a targeted basis so that the outcome — or end result — for everyone is equal. As explained on the International Women’s Day website, “equity-based solutions take into account the diverse lived experiences of individuals and communities, adapting services and policies according to these differences.” This is important, as the needs and experiences of white women might be entirely different from those of women of colour for example.
Though equity is a term commonly used in the financial world, it’s important not to confuse gender equity with equity financing. The latter is a way companies raise funds by selling off some of their shares. They have nothing to do with each other, they just use the same term.
It’s also not to be confused with gender parity, which is a way to measure how much a gender is represented in any given matter, like education, income or presence, and the result is the measure of equality between genders. If there are an equal number of women and men working in a team, for example, the gender parity would be 1, or a 1:1 ratio.
When we look at the state of women in crypto, we’re seeing the same unfortunate trend as we do in the finance or finTech sectors and overall general workforce: as per 2021, women only make up about 21% of total crypto owners and less than 5% of crypto entrepreneurs are women. Moreover, crypto companies led by women are also less likely to receive funding - the total funding amount for all women-founded crypto startups combined is $5.1 billion.
It’s not all bad news: According to new Bitpanda insights, while men are still more likely to trade crypto than women in all age ranges, around 20% of Bitpanda traders aged 65+ are female, the smallest gender gap across all age ranges. Furthermore, women aged 25-32 are the most active female traders and make more trades than any other age group. The industry still has a long way to go, but these are encouraging insights.
Cryptocurrencies were developed in order to open up financial access to the world and create a currency that could be used by anyone, anywhere, regardless of who they are. Yet, it’s ironic that the crypto industry tends to have a reputation for its exclusionary environment and “bro culture”. It’s estimated that the Bitcoin community alone is made up of 94% of men, which may be why some crypto networking events take place in establishments that cater almost exclusively towards men.
Not only can this environment be inhospitable to women, it also has a negative impact on the future growth of the crypto industry - and, on a global scale, on the growth of all industries. A McKinsey Global Institute report found that advancing women in the workplace could add a whopping $12 trillion to the global GDP by 2025. If that’s not convincing enough, here are three more compelling reasons why the crypto industry should take decisive actions for including more women:
As the digital asset sector continues to grow, there is a risk that women, non-binary people and minority groups will be excluded from this industry. A recent study from the Boston Consulting Group showed that environments with greater diversity foster more innovation, so the continued exclusion of women and minority groups will undoubtedly have a detrimental effect on the sector. Furthermore, these groups will not be able to launch a career in the next big phase of tech, which will only increase the gender disparity in the tech industry and have a negative impact on the financial health of those groups in the future.
Though crypto has existed for over ten years and is inching its way into the mainstream, for many it still exists on the fringes of the financial world, especially because governmental regulation has been slow to go into effect. But diversifying the demographics of investors, along with investing in women-founded and women-led crypto companies, could help prove that the industry is more than a niche interest. This kind of validation could help fuel further industry growth and mainstream acceptance.
A study by Northwestern University has shown that mixed-gender teams are more likely to produce work “that is significantly more innovative and impactful on average than that of same-gender teams.” Bringing in a mix of diverse experiences and different backgrounds is the key to unlocking next-level creativity and seeing things from new angles. Crypto is nothing if not innovative, so imagine the new heights it could reach if there were more women participating in its evolution.
Crypto needs more women - but how do we get there? There are a few measures that companies, communities and individuals can take in order to promote gender equity in the crypto world.
One aspect of equity is realising that not everyone is starting from the same position. Though a lot of educational information on cryptocurrencies is readily available, it might not be accessible in the way that is most useful to its audience. Equity means meeting a person where they’re at and giving them tailored tools and resources.
There are a number of startups and networking communities that are fulfilling this need for women investors and the crypto curious: Boys Club is a collective that hosts events and runs a Discord group for women and non-binary crypto and Web3 enthusiasts. SheFi is an initiative that hosts similar events along with providing a job board for women to find their next job in Web3. Tailoring educational content for a specific audience and providing additional resources where needed is one effective tool for reaching equity.
For lessons on personal finance, blockchain and Bitcoin basics, as well as more advanced crypto content, check out the Bitpanda Academy. We’re always adding new content so that you can stay informed and feel well prepared to start your investing journey.
Crypto communities should reflect on the environment they are currently fostering and consider the following:
Words have immense power, so we must all be mindful of how we use them. Creating a flourishing community means making sure everyone, regardless of their gender or background, feels safe and comfortable. Verbal abuse, misogyny and online bullying should not be tolerated.
If you’re a woman who invests or is interested in investing in crypto, or you’re just interested in personal finance in general, start by talking to your friends and peers. In many cultures, talking about money is still seen as taboo, but it can actually be an empowering practice and help you feel supported in your investing journey. Breaking that barrier is not just about money, but about independence, confidence and agency. Maybe you want to take the plunge and organise a crypto info night for you and your closest friends? Or you can set up a group chat where you can talk about your investments. Some things are just easier - and more fun - when you know you’re not alone.
Bitpanda is taking meaningful steps towards embracing gender equity, and we have introduced initiatives, policies and processes to address the gender gap internally. We have instituted a 20 week gender-neutral Parental Leave policy and a fair-pay policy based on an annual company-wide pay analysis. Additionally, Bitpanda is proud to have two women in C-level positions, Chief Legal Officer Olivia Broderick and Chief Human Resources Officer Lindsay Ross.
Bitpanda’s mission is and has always been to make investing available and accessible to everyone, regardless of their financial situation or their background. That is why, alongside our internal efforts, we are exploring a variety of ways of engaging more women in the Bitpanda community. Recently we organised a community day in Spain called Brunch & Crypto, an exclusive Bitpanda event organised for women to learn more about personal finance and investing in cryptocurrencies. We already see the impact of these events reflected in our numbers, and we are committed to offering similar initiatives in the future.
Bitpanda is here to help anyone launch their own investment journey. We take the complexity out of investing to give everyone the opportunity to invest in what they believe in and according to their own personal risk profile, as well as their values and interests.
To learn more about cryptocurrencies, personal finance, and investing, check out the Bitpanda Academy.
This article does not constitute investment advice, nor is it an offer or invitation to purchase any digital assets.
This article is for general purposes of information only and no representation or warranty, either expressed or implied, is made as to, and no reliance should be placed on, the fairness, accuracy, completeness or correctness of this article or opinions contained herein.
Investing carries risks. Make sure to conduct your own research before making any investment. Past performance is no indication of future results.
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