Web3, an opportunity for women to impose themselves on technology?

If technologies and digital are in everything in our lives, this sector is not representative of society. The reason is the lack of diversity. Web3, the next Internet revolution to be made, could be one way to change that.

Social networks, e-commerce, information retrieval… The Web is such an important part of our lives. Behind this Web hides thousands of technology companies offering their services. However, one problem has persisted in this sector for many years: there are few women out there, despite numerous initiatives to close the gender gap.

Web3 – an obscure concept considered to be the future version of the Internet – could allow women to have a better place there. Just more space. The next version has attracted a lot of interest since last year, especially with the collapse of NFTs, metaverse and cryptocurrencies. There are initiatives that will involve many women from the beginning, or almost. For example, when Meta announced the launch of an academy in France to train metaverse professions, it showed that it was aiming to have 30% of women in the first class. Are these efforts enough to produce lasting change?

Closing the gender gap in tech

A few numbers before getting the heart of the thing. According to the Gender Scan 2022 study, women represent only 17% of digital jobs in 2020 compared to 15% in 2018 within the European Union. In the case of France in particular, this number has increased from 12% in 2018 to 17% in 2020. Not only are some women working in tech, but they have less access to management positions. In the case of Gafam, we can mention for example Susan Wojcicki, general manager of YouTube or Sheryl Sandberg, director of operations at Meta, who announced her departure in early June. According to a Fire Tech study from August 2021, only 10% of the CEOs of the 50 largest technology companies in the world are women.

Women in Tech, an international NGO to help women embrace technology.© Women in Tech

To be seen and imagined, tech women organize. Entrepreneur Ayumi Moore Aoki founded Women in Tech in 2018, an international non-profit organization. The goal of this NGO? Reduce the gender gap and, above all, enable 5 million women and girls to access STEM professions (science, technology, engineering and math) by 2030. To do this, it focuses on four areas: education (skills programs, knowledge sessions, etc.), business (entrepreneurship, talent center, etc.), social inclusion (scholarships, equipment for rural areas, etc.) more) and promotion (events, strategic partnerships, etc.). “We are about 250,000 women and girls today. And we are also part of the Edison Alliance, an event organized by the World Economic Forum with a mission to affect 1 billion lives by 2025. We promise to affect 1 million women by 2025 and 5 million by 2030 ”explained by Ayumi Moore Aoki.

Others are trying to solve the problem through schools. Ada Tech School, a computer school in France, for example, was created in 2019 to increase the number of women in this sector. “At the time of training, women represented only 10% of computer science students. This number is alarming, because IT is the only training sector where the share of women is drastically declining”, says the school on their website. Ada Tech School was established “so that women can move peacefully towards the IT sector, then develop tech companies with the necessary background”. Following the completion of a first campus in Paris, it has raised 3 million euros in 2021 to fund the opening of a second campus in Nantes, scheduled for next October.

Necessary initiatives for web3

OpenSea, Binance, The Sandbox… If Gafam is run by men, big young web3 companies are built and also run by men.

Of course, there are some exceptions. One example is BFF, founded by entrepreneurs Brit Morin and Jaime Schmidt in 2021. It is a decentralized organization whose mission is to help women and non -binary people be educated, connected and financially rewarded. field of cryptocurrencies and web3. “A new Internet era has begun, and it’s called‘ web3 ’. Its market value is expected to reach $ 10 trillion over the next five years. The problem? 81% of the participants were men ”, can we read on its site. Members of this community include artists Gwyneth Paltrow, Tyra Banks and Mila Kunis.

BFF offers resources, including videos, to educate women on the web3.© Screenshot / BFF

According to an Ifop survey for Cointribune, out of a quarter of French people familiar with NFTs, 19% are women and 31% are men. And compared to 88% of respondents who said they knew bitcoin, only 38% of women said they had heard of it, compared to 55% of men. For Ayumi Moore Aoki, it is necessary to create awareness campaigns aimed at women, because they still believe that the tech business is still male. The founder of Women in Tech has also shown that they are more cautious than men when it comes to investments and therefore more skeptical than they are when it comes to cryptocurrencies. This is why they are less likely than men to invest in these digital assets. “As long as they have the knowledge, they only have the choice, but I think the most important thing is to be open, to showcase the opportunities on the web3”he said.

The NGO also plans to help the next generation of women on the Internet. “We build partnerships with companies or actors that help us train women in these professions and explain what web3 is all about”, meaning the trader. The purpose is to make digital education work by explaining what a blockchain is, an NFT or even how to create your crypto wallet, and to train future professions. As Ayumi Moore Aoki reminds us, 85% of jobs in 2030 are not there yet: “All of these professions come from innovation, from new technologies, so it’s important that women be present and be a part of them now.».

Traits, a barrier to increasing the number of women

Despite these initiatives, one thing, and not the least, has hindered the rise of women in technology: mentality. According to an Ironhack survey published on the occasion of Digital Women’s Day on April 17, four in ten French people think they are not as talented as men in jobs related to the new technologies sector. . Among the main reasons, they believe that men are naturally more computer savvy, that these jobs are more complicated for women or that a cultural factor is turning men back to digital. 58% of respondents also said they would not encourage their daughter to go into a digital profession. They feared the scarcity of opportunities and considered that training and schools were too expensive and too time consuming to study. They also find these sectors to be worrying and difficult for women, some of whom have been victims of discrimination or harassment in the environment.

According to Ayumi Moore Aoki, stereotypes are the number one barrier to increasing the number of women in technology. “When you think of someone leading a startup, you think of Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, men, but not really model women.explains the founder of Women in Tech. These are the years, decades of information bias that our parents, our teachers face! For some parents, everything digital is sometimes a little unnoticed. Often, they don’t know what web3 is and still think the technology is about geek profiles doing hackathons or things like that. They can’t imagine their daughters in this universe. “he added.

For the entrepreneur, however, web3 represents an opportunity for women to reshuffle cards. In particular, it may be possible to see the arrival of products or services that are accessible and customizable to everyone.

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