Boosting female leadership in crypto through quotas and proactive networking discussed in London

Boosting female leadership in crypto through quotas and proactive networking discussed in London

On April 24, the ‘Women in Crypto for Boards‘ series in London brought together C-level and Board-level women from the digital asset industry to address the underrepresentation of women in Web3, showcasing both the challenges and the opportunities for advancing gender equality in this rapidly evolving field.

The event’s founder, Tim Connolly, highlighted the importance of diversity in enhancing businesses’ commercial profitability and governance. Connolly’s personal commitment to gender equality, stemming from witnessing the challenges faced by his mother and sisters, set a passionate tone for the discussions that followed.

Challenges in Representation

The conversation quickly turned to the significant gender disparity in the crypto industry. Elizabeth Rosiello, CEO and Founder of AZA Finance, pointed out a novel issue: the lack of traditional board seats in many crypto companies. She noted, “A good chunk of crypto is not interested in human governance. So already we have fewer board seats available.” This lack of governance structures inherently limits opportunities for women to ascend to visibly aspirational leadership positions.

Hedwige Nuyens, Chair of ‘European Women on Boards’ and CEO of the International Banking Federation, highlighted the compounded challenges in the crypto space, which combines the male-dominated fields of technology and finance. Nuyens stressed the need for the industry to evolve and mature.


Visibility and Networking

A recurring theme was the importance of visibility and proactive networking. Jeanette Seng, Global Partnerships Managing Director at FIS, emphasized the need for women to support and recommend each other for board positions. Hemilly Rodrigues, Founder & CEO of R&Co web3 AI agency, highlighted the necessity of maintaining a balanced approach in interactions, noting,

“You need to keep a balance, not too tough, not too sweet. It’s pretty challenging still.”

The panelists agreed that women must actively build their profiles and networks. Nuyens offered practical advice: “In your LinkedIn, just below your name, you start by saying the next role you have in mind… how I contribute to companies is. So you just give your elevator pitch.” This approach can significantly enhance visibility and open doors to board opportunities.

Educational and Institutional Support

Education and institutional support emerged as vital components for fostering diversity. The panelists called for implementing company training programs to educate employees on the benefits of diversity and inclusion. Such initiatives can help create a more welcoming environment for women.

Additionally, the role of regulatory bodies was discussed. Nuyens cited the example of the European Banking Authority, which has mandated diversity in bank boards, leading to more profitable and less risky operations. Similar regulatory frameworks in the crypto industry could drive significant improvements.

Quotas and Targets

The contentious yet impactful topic of quotas was also addressed extensively during the roundtable. Several audience members raised questions and shared observations regarding implementing quotas in the crypto industry. One participant suggested having quotas on conference panels to ensure more female visibility. Others supported this idea, emphasizing the importance of showcasing talented women in the field to inspire and attract more female participation.

Elizabeth Rosiello passionately advocated for quotas as a necessary measure to initiate change. She highlighted the resistance to change within the industry and stated,

“I think the only answer right now is quotas. And you know what, are you going to go there and change everybody’s DNA and go back? Or are you going to be like, let’s start with a quota, and then that becomes the behavior.”

Her point underscored the difficulty in altering deeply ingrained biases and the need for enforced measures to pave the way for more inclusive practices.

Hedwige Nuyens added that quotas, while initially met with resistance, often lead to positive outcomes once implemented. She explained,

“When you have more women, your business case improves, and there are numerous studies that have evidence of a stark correlation between female representation and attention to a better environmental score.”

This evidence supports the argument that diversity promotes equality and enhances business performance.

Utilizing Media for Advocacy

The role of media in shaping perceptions and inspiring future generations was another focal point. Panelists suggested leveraging traditional and social media to highlight successful women in the industry. By celebrating achievements and sharing stories, the media can help dismantle stereotypes and attract more women to Web3.

The roundtable concluded by acknowledging that while progress has been made, there is still a long way to go. Practical steps such as enhancing visibility, implementing educational programs, setting quotas, and utilizing media can collectively drive the change needed to achieve gender parity in Web3. As Nuyens aptly said, “It’s not about how to get your point across. It is about how to get in the dynamic of the discussion.”

The Women in Web3 roundtable was a powerful reminder of the collective effort required to advance representation. The industry can work towards a more inclusive and equitable future by continuing these discussions and implementing the proposed solutions.

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