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IWD 2024: Why we need to see more female leaders in Web3
Fri, 8th Mar 2024

The crypto space has always been dominated by men. According to the latest statistics, some 94% of top executive positions in crypto are held by males. If Web3 truly wants to enter into the mainstream and become part of the broader global ecosystem, though, we must embrace gender equality.

Equality isn't simply about providing women with the same opportunities as men. It’s about creating an environment where women can thrive as business leaders. And while this is increasingly the case in some industries, it's certainly not representative of either the financial industry or Web3. 

And indeed, globally, women are still lagging woefully behind men in terms of pay across all industries. In the UK, for example, the median gender pay gap remains stubbornly high at 9.4% – the same level as five years ago. In UK financial services, the gender pay gap is even wider at 23.3%, accord to the Office for National Stastics (ONS). 

And Web3 is no better. A report by BCG X found that only 13% of the Web3 founding teams are women. 

I founded Block3 PR – a dedicated Web3 PR agency – as a beacon of hope in a world where I didn’t see a great deal of quality in communications. My expertise comes from a decade of working in the traditional financial world, first as a journalist in London and later in traditional financial PR. And this is where I learned my lessons, both when it comes to quality, and also equality and respect in the workplace.

My co-founder Anna cut her teeth in the same male-dominated UK asset management world. Both of us have stories to tell about inequality and lost opportunities for women in this industry. Learning from this, we set out to build a working environment where talented women could thrive and take control of their own careers. Now that the market is picking up, we’re excited to see this goal coming to life. Indeed, 80% of Block3 PR’s employees are female.

Not only are we committed to providing opportunities for women, but we also offer flexibility for our employees to work across the globe, from Europe to New Zealand. This is part of the company's ethics, but it's also about putting culture first. Unlike the traditional world, Web3 is much more open to the digital nomad culture, which sees people working all over the globe, and Block3’s team is entirely multi-national. 

This flexibility isn't unique to Bock3 PR, though. Overall, the Web3 ecosystem provides a flexible working environment, and, in fact, it isn't as anti-women as some may think. While there are fewer women than men in blockchain, this may just be down to the fact that fewer women are interested in the technology. For those that are, though, the Web3 space is rather welcoming and often stands in stark contrast to the traditional financial world. Indeed, there are many different free programs in place for women who want to learn coding, for example.

Web3 removes the hierarchy present in traditional industries, which makes it easier for women to rise to C-Suite positions. Indeed, the anonymous nature of Web3 makes gender definitions a thing of the past. At the same time, however, the start-up and technical nature of Web3 companies makes them typically a more suitable choice for men. 

This is one of the problem areas that must be tackled if we want to see more women in Web3. For example, we must encourage female participation in both the more technical and more creative areas of the blockchain ecosystem. 

A key concern is also the male-dominated work culture of the crypto space. Embracing digital nomads is all well and good, but this makes us open to working at all hours of the day. What if you have children and a family to care for? Given the proliferation of startups in the crypto world, there’s an expectation for entrepreneurs to work long hours. 

Yet this type of work culture is extremely tiring and can lead to burnout for both sexes. There is even a term for this late-night work: “hustle culture”. Burnout is a particularly common ailment in the Web3 arena, where the markets are open 24/7/365. It’s a very different environment from the traditional financial space, where markets only operate Monday to Friday and often close as early as 16:30. 

And while some crypto founders have become very successful as a result of this “hustle”, we need a culture that is more supportive of both genders in the Web3 space if we want to see sustainable growth. Whether you are a man or a woman, flexibility and reasonable working hours are essential to maintain productivity and a good work/life balance. 

At Block3 PR, we value the importance of taking holiday time and ensuring that our employees are not overworking themselves. But we also pride ourselves on attracting female leaders into the blockchain arena. 

That is not to say that we believe women are more successful than men. We simply believe gender equality is a very important part of a mature ecosystem. As Web3 languishes behind other economic sectors in terms of gender representation, Block3 PR seeks to be a beacon of equality and gender diversity. We look forward to the next evolution of blockchain as we build a more diverse and inclusive ecosystem for all.