Blockchain advocates suggest that the technology has the potential to level the playing field for people across genders, races, and locations, clawing back power from centralized institutions and reducing opportunities for discrimination in the process.
However, as in the wider tech industry, the blockchain space is overwhelmingly male and white. That’s why Women in Blockchain Talks was established. Hosted and founded by Lavinia Osbourne—the director of Butterfly Wealth Creation—the monthly educational and networking discussions highlight women working in the space, as well introduce listeners to the power and potential of blockchain, cryptocurrency, and related topics.
The UK-based Women in Blockchain Talks events were previously held live, but now are streaming events. Osbourne joined The Decrypt Daily podcast host Matthew Aaron for today’s episode to discuss the event series and why representation matters in the blockchain space.
“Blockchain is about democratization for everybody. It's about bringing everybody in. And so blockchain should represent that,” said Osbourne. “Ultimately, you look at the tech environment, 34% are women working in tech. And if you look at blockchain it’s 12%. Those numbers need to rise, because blockchain needs to represent everybody: ethnic minorities, women. Ultimately, by doing that, it will just add more value to the whole ecosystem.”
Osbourne noted that some aspects of the blockchain industry can be alienating to certain people, whether it’s the overwhelming focus on cryptocurrency over other uses for blockchain, or the idea of the space being dominated by businessmen in suits. In order to truly open the doors to the benefits of blockchain technology, it’s critical that everyone has access and feels welcome in the space.
“Representation matters. So it has to look like a woman like me and it has to look like men in suits, because we do need the men in suits. They’re part of the equation. They're part of the ecosystem,” she said. “It's not about negating them. It's just about the space representing others who don't look like them. It would look like you, it would look like young people, it would look like older people.”
“You have to look at the different aspects of blockchain as well, because if you're just focusing on cryptocurrency, then it's across the board: financial inclusion, financial wellbeing is important,” she continued. “What blockchain does is it gives people an equal playing field to create wealth. It looks like a housewife, it looks like a student, it looks like a professional woman that looks like me, and it looks like you—so just multicultural is what I’m talking about, and multi-class.”
The next Women in Blockchain Talks streaming event takes place on February 24 and will feature Professor Lisa Short, co-founder of P&L Digital Edge, as well as Unblocked founder and CEO Helen Disney.
Tune in to The Decrypt Daily for more on Osbourne’s aims and the need for wider representation in the blockchain industry. Subscribe on iTunes and continue to be informed about the latest happenings in cryptocurrency, blockchain, and decentralized tech.