It seems there is a lot of turmoil happening in the world, as the year 2020 keeps giving and giving. From natural disasters, a global pandemic, and race wars and riots, everyone is wondering what will happen next. However, something happened earlier this year that resonated with me personally, and I wanted to touch on this subject as I don’t believe it has received enough attention and is a topic that in particular for this year, is important because of what’s going on around the world, especially in the cryptocurrency space.
Women in Tech
It’s not a big surprise for people to hear or know that women in the tech sector are at times, far and few between. Depending on the space you’re in, it may be hard to find other women in your office. For example, if you’re a female engineer, you may be the only one or maybe there are two in your entire team that are women.
According to an article written earlier this year by CIO, women make up 47% of all employed adults in the U.S., but only hold about 25% of technology related positions. Also, women who are working in the computing sector are typically paid less than their male counterparts. On top of that, women have a higher likelihood of facing discrimination in the workplace.
Earlier this year, right when the United States was starting to get hit hard with the Corona Virus, there was news that hit crypto twitter – Binance is hiring and the only requirements are “beautiful young girls with big boobs.” You can imagine my shock.
Being a female in a male dominated industry where it’s already hard to get a name for yourself, I was just sent back years by one of the biggest exchanges in the crypto space. From the different news articles that popped up on the issue, it was discovered that Binance was hiring women so they could exploit them in order to potentially get new clients and customers.
The exchange was hiring them not because they possess the knowledge and experience to do the job, but they were hiring them strictly because of how they looked.
They later recanted what happened, saying they were joking about the job requirements, however, the damage was done. Women everywhere in the crypto space felt this, especially those of us who work for exchanges. Binance being a peer in the space, set the bar really low for all us, and now we have to work our way back up, whether it was a joke or not.
Currently there are over 30 million people unemployed in the United States, primarily due to the Corona Virus pandemic. This staggering number has many people worried, including myself. If you split that right down the middle, which it’s probably not a straight split, but to argue the point, let’s say there are somewhere around ~15 million women who are unemployed. Who do you think will be going after your job? With the bar set low, women are now facing an even bigger struggle to get employed and keep their jobs, especially in this booming space with lots of competition.
Being in the crypto space and working for another top exchange, OKEx.com, I have the personal experience and statistics to help paint the picture. Let’s take a raw look at some numbers to give you a firsthand view into who is using these exchanges.
As you can see, the number of female users (29.8%) that come and use OKEx is far less than the male users (70.2%).
For the age demographics of people using the exchange, 38% of the users belong to the age group 25-34, and 31% of the users are 18-24, making up nearly 70% of all the users on our platform.
The top countries that represent where the majority of our users are coming from are Indonesia, Russia, India, Vietnam, China, and Ukraine.
As a woman who works in the cryptocurrency industry, I think I have a different view of the situation. Every workplace has its own gender preference at an early stage, and it will become more diverse as time goes by and the company grows.
One of the challenges that I face is the worry about being treated less with less importance compared to a male employee with my voice not being heard every time.
One of my friends asked me the other day if people at my work even want to hear a female’s opinion? Frankly speaking, I have not experienced this kind of issue, but it is still a concern. I do feel I work in a very healthy, organic, and fair work environment. I can speak up anytime I want to express my opinions in the office. But not all work places are like this, and as others have shown, women are not always treated equally and fairly.
Overall, in the crypto community, I feel valued. Also, most of the people that I work with are very professional. But this doesn’t go without saying I have different challenges and issues to deal with being a woman and dealing with others who may not value what I have to bring to the table.
We have a long road ahead
I have to say that representation of females in the technology sector still has a long way to go before women are no longer considered a minority in tech, and it’s a similar scenario in the blockchain and crypto sector.
At OKEx, I’m glad to see other female employees, which there are plenty of. However, for web developers and engineers, it’s still far less below than what I would like to see, which is a general phenomenon across the whole computer science field. On my team, I am one of the rare female faces. This gender imbalance problem arises from school age challenges, all the way up to adulthood where women aren’t always treated the same.
My hope is that this will change as time goes on and new technologies emerge such as blockchain and crypto, which will help pave the way for women to give us an opportunity to make our mark.
This OP-ed is written by Summer Lyu.
Summer Lyu is a Global Business Manager at OKEx.com who accomplished her undergraduate and graduate degrees at Northeastern University in Boston. She is passionate about crypto, business communication, reading, and traveling. She is also working on increasing the awareness of women’s rights and trying to bring equal opportunities for women in the workplace.
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