International Women’s Day 2022 focuses on bringing women to Web3

At its core, Web3 is about regaining control of centralized online experiences, allowing creators to interact within peer-to-peer (P2P) ecosystems focused on music, film, artwork, fashion, and other popular topics. This has also led to non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and digital ecosystems often referred to as the Metaverse.

Given the wide range of interests Web3 caters to, the industry not only attracts typical “tech bros” but has also captured the attention of many women looking to build and develop the decentralized web further. The movement of women entering Web3 has become especially apparent now as the industry is still in its infancy.

Sandy Carter, senior vice president of Unstoppable Domains – a blockchain domain name provider – told Coin-Crypto that Web3 today offers women a phenomenal opportunity to make an impact as the space is still evolving. This isn’t always the case, though, as Carter explained that before joining Unstoppable Domains in December 2021, she was one of the few female executives at Amazon Web Services:

“When I switched to Unstoppable Domains, I was disappointed with Web2 and how much lack of diversity I found. Often 20% of the room would be women at conferences. It has also been shown that less than 5% of entrepreneurs in the Web2 space are women. This was mind-blowing.”

International Women’s Day 2022

To bring more women into the Web3 space, Carter said Unstoppable Domains has partnered with 66 leading Web2 and Web3 companies to form a new initiative called “Unstoppable Women of Web3” – a diversity and education group focused on training the next generation of talent for the Web3 era.

Carter said organizations supporting this initiative include large companies such as Google Cloud and Deloitte, along with blockchain companies such as Decentraland, BlockFi and Binance.US. “All partners have signed a pledge to feature work created by historically marginalized groups in at least half of all materials used for Web3 education,” Carter said.

While Carter believes the Web3 space is starting to see an influx of women, she still thinks the industry is often misunderstood and therefore intimidating. “I think there is potential for women to enter Web3, but education is still required. For example, if women look at a Web3 job listing and only meet certain criteria, they won’t be able to apply. So we’re trying to break through this,” she said.

As a starting point, Carter noted that Unstoppable Women of Web3 will host a 24-hour discussion on Twitter spaces on March 8—International Women’s Day—to discuss Web3-related topics. She also noted that on International Women’s Day, Unstoppable Domains will publish a list of 100 influential women in Web3 to showcase innovation in this new sector.

NFT marketplace Rarible also hopes to boost women’s participation in Web3 by promoting women’s empowerment projects during International Women’s Day this year. Masha Vyazemskaya, head of communications at Rarible, told Coin-Crypto that while non-replaceable tokens have created incredible opportunities for creatives, only 16% of NFT creators are women. “Even less well-known is the generation of female artists who have been involved in the NFT space since its early days and laid the foundation for what the industry is today,” said Vyazemskaya.

That’s why Vyazemskaya explained that on March 8, Rarible pays a lot of attention to female-led NFT projects to ensure that different voices are recognized. For example, Vyazemskaya explained that Rarible will feature one of its first female NFT artists, liron. According to Vyazemskaya, Lirona started from scratch in the NFT space and has since launched her highly successful “#boiz” collection on the Rarible marketplace, which has brought in over $700,000 in sales. Vyazemskaya said:

“What’s amazing is that Lirona started on Rarible in early 2021 with her collections that were selling for 0.1 ETH and now they’re selling for 20-30 ETH. This is a very important journey for us, showing how we work closely with artists and support their needs.”

NFT from Lirona’s boi collection. Source: Rarible

Vyazemskaya added that on March 8, Rarible will launch “Metafemale,” an NFT collection that serves as a community for women creators and entrepreneurs in the space. “This project will also provide access to a private members’ club for female creatives in the metaverse,” she said. Vyazemskaya further noted that this year Rarible will be promoting “Women Rise,” an NFT series that supports female activists, artists, scientists, and programmers.

Initiatives are needed

While there are notable initiatives to encourage women’s participation in Web3, it is important to point out that Web3 in general can serve a more diverse audience. For example, Tegan Kline, co-founder of Edge and Node — the development team behind the open-source indexing protocol The Graph — told Coin-Crypto that NFTs are a use case within the Web3 umbrella that has reached the masses. “This makes it feel like a lot more women have become involved in space. I’m grateful for that, because it was a huge need,” she said.

In addition to NFTs, Megan Kaspar, co-founder and director of Magnetic – a crypto and blockchain investment and incubation firm – told Coin-Crypto that since 2013 she has been asked, “How do we bring more women into technology, crypto and blockchain?”

Kaspar explained that her answer applies to Web3, noting that more women will participate as dominant female verticals, such as those related to beauty and fashion, begin to develop. “That’s happening now and it’s a contributing factor to all of the new female Web3 entrants over the past year and a half. The fusion of fashion and blockchain has made this possible and that motivates me to continue to contribute to the excitement that is rising in metafashion,” said Kaspar.

Megan Kaspar on the cover of Haute Living January 2022 in a digital Fendi Dress. Source: Haute Living

While more and more women are taking an interest in Web3, Kline believes awareness needs to be raised to ensure early-stage women continue to enter the Web3 space:

“There’s such a huge opportunity within Web3 right now, it’s like the early days of Wall Street or the early days of the tech boom. So many women have been left out from both movements and I don’t want to see the same in Web3. This is the chance to participate in a revolutionary movement that is likely to change the world for the masses.”

Tegan with a handful of women within The Graph’s ecosystem of an offsite team event. Source: The Graph

With this in mind, Kline said she believes lectures, panels and events are all important daily initiatives to get more women into Web3. Echoing Kline, Jennifer Kim, founder and chief operating officer of SEUNwater — an Internet of Things water monitoring platform — told Coin-Crypto that while Web3 may be more female-centric, there’s still not enough participation to see real traction.

To change this, Kim explained that she manages the HBAR Foundation’s “Female Founders Fund.” According to Kim, The Female Founders Fund is a new program where qualified teams, led by women, will be eligible for funding, mentorship and guidance from the HBAR Foundation, Hedera Hashgraph’s grant program. “I hope I can help women who want an extremely rewarding and fulfilling career in Web3. My passion for this industry is great and I want to share it,” says Kim.

Connecting with other female opinion leaders is indeed a critical element for growth within a new technology sector. Sonal Patel, operations lead at ConsenSys Mesh Baseline Research and Development – a unit that develops technologies and contributions to the Ethereum Foundation – chimed in.

She told Coin-Crypto that her interest in Web3 started when she first invested in crypto. After this, Patel explained that she wanted to learn more about Web3 in her spare time, which led her to contribute to projects aimed at decentralizing the Web. In turn, Patel came into contact with some inspiring women such as Eva Beylin, director of the Graph Foundation. Patel worked out:

“The emergence of decentralized communities, protocols and practices creates a strong need for operational integrity as work is mostly voluntary for those involved. So I formalized and optimized processes in the open source Baseline Protocol community to ultimately share and apply these innovative practices to contribute to the success and longevity of Web3 projects across the ecosystem.”

community building

While Web3 appears to be a promising new sector for diversity, some women already immersed in Web3 believe it is challenging to ensure that women’s voices are constantly heard.

To put this into perspective, Olive Allen — an NFT artist who recently burned her Russian passport in hopes of raising awareness and funds for Ukraine’s military conflict — told Coin-Crypto that she entered Web3 in 2018. According to Allen, she created one of the very first NFT drops in 2019 known as “13 Awful and Disappointing Items.” Though notable, Allen explained that many men took credit for this project shortly after it launched. “Unfortunately, women have always been pretty much cut out of the history of any field, be it science, technology or art. And I feel it’s happening now,” she noted.

“Mr. Coin Pig 1st Edition” NFT of Allen’s 13 Terrible and Disappointing Items. Source: OpenSea

As such, Allen believes women’s voices are often lost in what she calls “the sea of ​​cryptobro Twitter/Discord talk.” She added: ‘Don’t believe me? Tune in to the most popular crypto Twitter Spaces. I feel like ‘community’ doesn’t exist for women.”

Fortunately, understanding challenges early can help improve Web3 as it matures. Until now, Carter noted that a primary goal of Unstoppable Women of Web3 is to create ongoing community building. “Knowledge will be shared through Twitter Spaces, Discord, Telegram and in-person events, starting with a live event in South By Southwest 2022,” she said.

Denelle Dixon, chief executive officer and executive director of the Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) – a non-profit organization designed to support the growth of the Stellar Network – further told Coin-Crypto that SDF is working with universities and educational institutions to host NFT hackathons for women and non-binary learners. “Inclusive education and community building are how we help bring more women and a wider range of users to Web3 who don’t see themselves reflected enough in the space,” she said.

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