Kathleen Chu is a Blockchain professional with experience in journalism, PR, and digital marketing, and is open to new opportunities.
Here are my takeaways from a female panel at Blockchain Unbound Tokyo 2018:
I once saw a strong-minded female entrepreneur declare on the stage at a blockchain conference in Singapore that she hoped she wouldn’t have to join another panel that discusses women in the blockchain.
She was frustrated with how women were singled out and highlighted every time and felt that by doing so, we left out other minority groups in the space. She may have a point, but here is one panel that I attended recently that truly inspired me.
On a Monday morning in Tokyo at Blockchain Unbound Tokyo 2018, Nyla Rodgers, the CEO and Founder of Mama Hope and Founder of the Satoshi is Female movement, started her introduction of the panel by asking everyone to raise their hand and touch their heart. She asked us to feel the heart beating inside us and reminded us that humanity is within us. With the rapid advance in technology, one should never let go what makes us human. Don’t we all need to touch base with our inner being from time to time?
Nyla then introduced the t-shirt that she was wearing, designed with what some may see as an odd phrase — “Satoshi is Female.” Some of you may say, technology can’t possibly have a gender. That was how I felt when I first heard it.
However, if you dig deeper and truly think about what blockchain is, Nyla has made a great point. The spirit of blockchain technology is unique in the way that once a block is solved, the participants work together to verify the transaction. Nyla said that kind of collaboration is characteristically very female and that is why she decided to start the Satoshi is Female movement.
Nyla proceeded to introduce her panelists: Danielle Kayembe, CEO and Founder of GreyFire Impact, Breanne Butler, Co-Founder at Women’s March, and Shankhri Balaji, Director of Marketing & Community at Fr8 Network.
Danielle shared her study on the female-driven economy. Female consumers dominate when it comes to making decisions on which products to buy. Indeed the percentage is as high as 90% in family units. She gave an example of heavy doors that women tend to struggle to open. The designers didn’t see it from a female’s perspective. That is one reason why companies need more women in their everyday decision making to create better products that are suitable for women. Danielle also talked about the input to the economy of women, such as the addition to global food production by breastfeeding and the value of that activity alone.
Breanne, who is the co-founder of Women’s March, shared her experience in starting one of the largest decentralized movements as the co-founder of Women’s March. She humbly said that the founding team merely started the discussion which in a sense “give birth” to Women’s March movement that quickly took off on its own.
Women don’t just march against Donald Trump. They protest because they are frustrated with the situations and the environment they are in, and they need to be heard, said Breanne. She had recently spent four weeks in Washington marching against the Supreme Court Judge appointed by Trump in the face of mounting evidence of his history of abuse against women.
“We are fighting tooth and nails against inequality,’’ Breanne said.
Shankhri who is building logistics and marketing in blockchain pointed out the importance of thinking about the end users. Even if your business is B2B, your business partner has their customers to take care of, and the majority of their customers can be female. Companies need to plan their business models with female customers in mind and hire more women because they look at things differently. Having that diversity is vital for their success in their business.
The highlight of the panel was when Danielle said, “when you are underestimating women in the workplace, it is like keeping Mark Zuckerberg in your IT department.’’ Think of the female workforce as Mark Zuckerberg, and then you will realize how important it is having women on your team. Their opinion doesn’t only matter, but they also bring immense value to your organization.
At some point during the panel, I realized that having an ongoing discussion about women in blockchain does not exclude other minority groups. It does just the opposite. It embraces them because it encourages people to see things from a different angle, making a paradigm shift.
As the panel discussion came to a close, I thought to myself that how I wish our future generations will see a day when such a conversation of diversity and inclusion is deemed redundant. What kind of a world that will be.