As I was doing my daily reading of crypto news, I came across an interesting article on Forbes: “The Negative Impact Of Having ‘All Women Panels’ At Blockchain And Cryptocurrency Conferences.” I couldn’t help but find myself agreeing.
The article discusses how having women-only panels at crypto and blockchain conferences can actually deter hinder the progress women in are making. The article featured the opinions of three women in the crypto conference space including Anastasia Shvetsova (Managing Partner at M&A PR Agency), Arianna Simpson (Managing Director at Autonomous Partners), and Samantha Stein (Director of Special Events at TechCrunch).
These women have experienced first-hand what is like to be on all-female panels. Many conferences that they have attended include “Pink Rooms” (rooms designed just for women) and “themed” panels that tend to discuss the issues of women in crypto and rather than crypto issues in general. The women featured in the article all said that they would love to contribute more real data and information to the crypto space outside of just gendered issues.
Ariana Simpson said: “There are women who are experts on literally every subject on crypto and outside of that, so I think that bringing those highly qualified women on to the main panels is what should be happening, rather than saying, ‘look, we have a women in blockchain panel.’”
I couldn’t agree more with what these women said. While there is no doubt that women are still a minority in the crypto space and still make up a very small percentage of speakers on panels at these events, to feature a panel of only women takes the attention away from women’s accomplishments and puts it on their gender. Women are striving to be known in crypto and in other fields for their merits and achievements, not just for being women.
I hate when achievements are prefaced with labels. For instance, when someone gets promoted within a company and the Press Release headline reads, “Jane Doe Becomes One of Only Two Women to Ever be Promoted to CEO”. Why are we drawing attention to her gender? Why not change the narrative to be “After a Record Sales Year in her Role as President, Jane Doe Receives Promotion to CEO”? We should be showcasing achievements rather than gender, age, or ethnicity.
I’m not saying that gender has no role in crypto or society in general, but I believe that exclusively focusing on gender is does disservice to those women trying to add value to the space. There is a fine line between bringing attention to the gender differences and paying too much attention to gender to the point that attention is shifted away from useful cryptocurrency topics.
There are so many talented women working in crypto. They should be featured on the main panels at crypto conferences so that they can share their valuable expertise.
Crypto is still in its infancy, and every voice matters. We shouldn’t segregate voices based on gender or any other demographic. Bringing attention to the women in crypto movement isn’t a bad thing, but we should focus on their skills and accomplishments.