Women are underrepresented across the fintech industry, and the emerging realm of Web3 is no exception. There are many reasons for women to be both frustrated and inspired about the potential for increasing diverse representation in the crypto industry.
Alarming statistics from a Boston Consulting Group study earlier this year revealed that only 13% of Web3 startups are led by women founders, with just 3% having an all-women founding team. Furthermore, funding disparities are strikingly apparent. All-male teams raised nearly four times the funds raised by all-women teams, according to the BCG report. Additionally, women NFT artists face a concerning disparity, with only 5% of the money generated by NFT sales going to women artists over a period of 21 months, according to a complementary ArtTactic NFT art market report.
On the brighter side, many communities in the Web3 space are explicitly combating gender inequality. World of Women, founded by NFT artists Yam Karkai and Raphael Malavieille, is one such example focusing on empowering women through education. WoW’s programs aim to increase women’s representation and prevalence in the NFT art market. Another such community is UnicornDAO, an NFT project platform founded in 2022 by Nadya Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot, plus crypto veterans John Caldwell and Rebecca Lamis. UnicornDAO’s mission revolves around funding women NFT artists and investing in LGBTQ+ NFT artists’ projects, paving the way for greater diversity across the industry.
Zooming out from the NFT space, to look at the Web3 landscape’s bigger picture, numerous organizations and their visionary leaders are equally dedicated to increasing women’s representation. Women of Web3, founded by Lauren Ingram, is committed to connecting women with Web3 job opportunities via a job board, career resources, and in-person networking events. This group even has a podcast where members discuss issues pertaining to women in the Web3 industry. Similarly, the nonprofit Women in Blockchain is dedicated to serve as a catalyst for women to define the blockchain landscape. Through educational content and networking events, this community actively promotes women’s entry into the Web3 space.
It appears that such organizations have identified two fundamental root causes of inequality: inadequate funding and a lack of information, whether that means professional training or general education. Notably, these points closely align with the recommendations put forth in the 2023 BCG report. The report emphasizes the importance of funding opportunities, particularly by involving women in investment teams. As such, UnicornDAO raised $4.5 million by creating content in the Web3 space using blockchain-based tools.
The obstacles that women face in Web3 are the same challenges that women face in entrepreneurship, in the art world and in scientific fields in general. And yet, there are many reasons that women in Web3 remain optimistic. As stated on their official website, the founders of UnicornDAO, in particular, believe that the disruptive nature of Web3 can serve as a catalyst for change, giving women and “underrepresented groups tools to empower themselves.”
By tackling funding disparities and providing education, the above-mentioned initiatives aim to create an inclusive ecosystem to empower women. While challenges will persist, the potential of Web3 as a transformative force offers hope for a future where women may be represented equally in a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable digital landscape.