Analysis by Paxful, the bitcoin trading platform, has found that 71% of their users are male and just 29% are female. But the number of women joining the bitcoin industry is growing. Here Nina Paragoso at Paxful talks about the reality of gender equality in the bitcoin community.
Nina, why do you think women represent such a little part of the bitcoin community?
It is widely believed that the crypto community are almost exclusively male-dominated, although we have seen a significant increase of women joining the industry; as a job, simply learning, or trading. Also, there still is a notion, especially in emerging countries, that a man is a bread-winner and a woman is to take care of the home and family, instead of earning.
Millions of women around the world are still living under this notion and lack access to education or encouragement to be independent and earn for themselves. This is, however, slowly going away, and we are indeed seeing more women turn to crypto.
There is a correlation between women’s economic participation and the prosperity of the country, but, for example, in Nigeria, laws are holding women back from working and being financially independent.
With 75% of Nigerian girls out of school due to the aforementioned factors, there is a long journey to female participation in the crypto industry in the country, but it’s slowly changing.
Have you noticed a difference in generations when it comes to gender’s engagement?
We have seen across the board that millennials, young entrepreneurs, no matter the gender is interested in crypto.
We conducted several surveys to find out what was happening in various countries, and according to USA respondents, 63% felt bitcoin would be fully infiltrated into the mainstream within the next ten years.
The data collected in Paxful’s survey shows that 75.8% of respondents in India rely on digital currencies to easily and fairly transfer money, in an otherwise limited banking system, and 64.8% believe it is the path to financial freedom.
A large portion of the British population has wavering trust in their traditional banking system, especially in times of crisis. This economic uncertainty, and growing mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies, has resulted in, according to the survey, 23% of UK residents being open to purchasing cryptos if widespread use was possible and 20% willing to use cryptocurrency if it was integrated into real-life everyday technology such as smartphone applications, instead of using traditional banking apps.
How can you encourage more women to look into bitcoin and cryptocurrency?
Tugba Abadan, our Head of the Middle East and Africa, advises not to wait and for people to enter the crypto world now. There are a lot of opportunities waiting for females in the crypto industry. They can work as freelancers, affiliate marketers, educators or social media influencers. There is a high demand for female influencers as there simply aren’t enough women conquering the industry and talking about it.
Day crypto trading is also a great option; despite it being dominated by men, studies show women actually prove to be very successful traders and often earn more than men. The opportunities are endless. I encourage everyone to start learning more about cryptocurrencies and find their path to follow.
Paxful is here to help. We have weekly Africa webinars on Wednesdays where we discuss different industry-related topics. I highly recommend all females to join these webinars. They can see how Paxful’s team in Africa is 75% female and why these ladies are my heroes.
Do you think it is unique to the financial sector or is it the same across the board?
The difference is not only prevalent in the financial sector, but also the tech industry.
From your experience, what are the main obstacles that minorities face when wanting to work in bitcoin and cryptocurrency?
There’s a lack of necessary technical skills, and also the overall negative shroud in the industry. Many people think it’s a scam still; when in fact, it’s not. There are also plenty of country-specific regulations in place. In the emerging world, some countries still have an uncertain status of crypto which discourages people as they don’t know if they are breaking the law, or need to pay taxes on crypto earnings and so on.
What is the role of universities and education when it comes to encouraging women to work in finance?
It is absolutely crucial. Crypto literacy should become a subject in educational institutions. We not only have plenty of free resources available but we also started rolling out mini bitcoin-economy training seminars at tertiary institution campuses across South Africa and Kenya last year. They were an absolute success, and female participation in the training sessions was high. This shows the level of appetite towards the industry there from both men and women. Universities should open up classes that teach blockchain-related skills, and at the same time discuss bitcoin/ crypto in financial classes.