Tuesday, 8th March marks International Women’s Day and Women Love Tech is shining a spotlight on female leaders in the tech, metaverse, crypto and blockchain industries.
Let’s discover more about their incredible careers in STEM and what are the challenges we need to overcome to #BreakTheBias.
Naomi Lackaff, Head of Partnerships at Shrapnel, the world’s first blockchain-enabled moddable AAA first-person shooter game
“Having spent a career in tech I am often one of very few women on my team. I spend a lot of time thinking about how to support women in many areas of my life. I have been incredibly fortunate in the roughly twenty years of my career to work with some of the smartest people around, and most of them have been men of impeccable character. Even so, they don’t always see what I see. How can they? They don’t share the lived experiences of the women they work with. What they do, though, is ask questions, and stay open to the answers.
There are some very simple things any company can do to support and reinforce gender equity:
Pay women the same salary for the same work; when presented with candidates of equal calibre, hire the woman; recognize that good ideas can come from anyone, and actively seek input from all members of the team; mentor women in roles more traditionally dominated by men.
I could make emotional appeals all day about the importance of diversity and gender equity, but this is business. Business is ultimately about the bottom line, and diverse teams make more money. Countless studies have shown that companies committed to a diverse workforce and fostering an environment of long-term support and career development for employees of all educational levels and backgrounds, encourage higher productivity and higher quality output. If game makers specifically want to capture the largest available market of players, they must employ a diversity of perspectives on their team.”
Gloria Wu, Chief of Global Ecosystem Partnerships at Ontology, the project bringing trust, privacy, and security to Web3 through decentralized identity and data solutions
“The tech industry has a long way to go to achieve gender parity. In recent years, some progress has been made to promote women in tech and ensure they are afforded the same opportunities as men. However, while there’s been some positive progress, there hasn’t yet been enough progress.
The impact that more women would have on the blockchain industry in particular is profound. Blockchain is still in its very early stages, presenting an opportunity to create something new that is truly a reflection of the whole of society for the first time. It’s not too late for us to create real, lasting change when it comes to gender balance in the crypto and blockchain industry, which in turn, will have a hugely positive influence on the outcomes.
We need industry leaders, academia, and governments to come together and make commitments to increasing the number of women in STEM courses. Affording women more leadership positions will help ensure that the boardroom is no longer male-dominated. As the saying goes, ‘if she can’t see it, she can’t be it’.”
Rhian Lewis, Developer Relations Advocate at Boson Protocol, the decentralized commerce protocol that enables products, services and experiences to be sold as NFTs in the metaverse
“Gender inequality in the tech industry, as with all other forms of inequality, can be solved only by creating technologies that allow individuals to interact online in a fair and equitable manner that does not entrench existing inequities. Creating technologies that can be used by anyone and trusted by everyone is one of the key responsibilities we have as software developers and technologists, as this enables a future where everyone can participate on equal terms.
Everyone uses technology in different ways, and it can be very difficult to get inside the heads of people who are not like you and imagine what their needs, priorities, and potential user journeys are. The more different types of people you have developing your technology – not just in developer roles but throughout the team – the more different perspectives you get, and the more likely you are to be able to build technology that is applicable to everyone. That’s why adequate female representation from development to delivery is so important.
Building a team that has a true diversity of thought, as well as diversity of individuals, means that all opinions have the opportunity to be heard. The most important advice is to listen, and if someone says there is a problem, to believe them.”
Ellen Holcomb, Co-Founder at Holcomb Energy Systems, a research and development company
“McKinsey Global Institute’s women in tech statistics suggest that $12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025, simply by advancing female equality. Women’s life experiences, and therefore our worldviews, are often very different from those of men. Women have the right to choose their career path regardless of gender, race, class, or sexual orientation. When everyone is included, everyone benefits. The fact that women hold only 11 percent of executive positions in Silicon Valley speaks for itself. Women in tech must work twice as hard as men to get ahead and we still have a very long way to go.
“Both employers and colleagues should pay heed to women in the workplace and encourage their hard work and advancement. Women should be offered the very same opportunities as men and be compensated fairly for their work.
“At Holcomb Energy Systems, we put the same commitment into our workforce as we do our technology. We are actively recruiting and advancing women in key positions within our company. Women’s perspectives and talents are critical to the successful deployment of our technology and the future of our planet. We hope that our clean energy generation technology brings opportunity, independence, and inspiration to girls and women everywhere.”
Jennifer Jackson, CMO at Actian
“As a woman in leadership, it is crucial for me to know my own strengths and weaknesses. I take time to reflect on what I need to improve, and equally important, where I need to double down on what I do well. I have high expectations for my employees, but I also set the bar high for myself.
My advice for women seeking leadership roles is to be persistent in their work ethic, be present in your role so you absorb knowledge, use your voice to share your point of view, and never stop asking questions. One thing I got right early in my career was to just put my head down and get the work done. I recommend focusing on three to five areas where you can make yourself stronger and enrich the role you have today. That opens doors for roles you will move into tomorrow.”