Cover Illustration by Raphael Quiason

Web3 is still disproportionately dominated by males—so women are finding ways to support one another to make more equitable spaces for all

Where the previous tech space was defined by the 'tech bro' culture, Web3 gives the opportunity to rebuild the digital world with diversity, equality, and inclusion. The new internet phenomenon has redesigned the world wide web into a democratic space, giving back control and ownership of data to the people from its decentralised properties. 

The cryptocurrency and NFTs market is crowded and complicated, but the Web3 community has been a welcoming and safe space to educate all in building a decentralised future together. Randi Zuckerberg, sister of Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg, is leading the new Web3 domain with NFT platform Hug, an inclusive space for female curators and creators that provides additional accelerator and advisory support. With the potential to eradicate systemic bias, a new wealth of opportunities surfaces for women in the new era of the internet.

How women are working together for equity

Women are increasingly staking their claim in this new tech scene and are working to bridge knowledge and close gender gap together. Even Paris Hilton is an advocate for female-led NFT projects (all the while still DJing on the side—in the metaverse, of course).

Of course, even with celebrities supporting the ecosystem, challenges still exist. The NFT space is still dominated by men: only 16 per cent of NFT artists are female, and they in turn make up only 5 per cent of all NFT sales. Cryptocurrency marketplace Gemini revealed only 26 per cent of crypto investors are women.

But there is a silver lining—these shared challenges have brought forth a strong community of women empowering each other. This new model presents a striking contrast against the old boys’ club mentality—an open, supportive and encouraging space, inspiring a new version of the internet. Web3 is a blank slate for everyone to explore this new territory together.

Some Web3 communities work to break the bias by providing educational courses from female mentors, such as Astro Girls Society. The Singapore-based NFT project makes the space accessible to all women by demystifying crypto with mentorship and personalised learning.

Elsewhere, 19-year-old Alexis Nathaniel, a South Asian student from Hong Kong, has founded Solana Babez, a philanthropic social-impact NFT collection to educate women. Twenty per cent of the funds raised are donated to charities focusing on mental health awareness, supporting women, or fighting human trafficking.

“The beauty of the Web3 is that anyone from any background can become a collector or a creator with the opportunities and creative freedom that exist within the space,” says Nathaniel. The young founder sought guidance from other female-led projects despite receiving misogynistic comments from others at the beginning of her journey. “I joined a community where like-minded women in the Web3 came together to empower each other in the space. The kindness and validation I received was what pushed me to persevere and truly make a change to both the real and virtual world.”

 

Web3 may be a way to distribute wealth more equitably

Decentralised finance can disrupt the discriminatory finance system, offering traditionally marginalised communities opportunities to preserve and create their own wealth.

Decentralised Autonomous Organisations (DAOs) are democratic community formats, allowing full ownership and decision-making power to each member through tokenising. Instead of a traditional hierarchy run by a central administration, decisions are made by users who possess governance tokens obtained through participation or purchase.

This has greatly revolutionised the venture capital space where typically funds are given more to men counterparts—by allowing anyone to participate with no biases, this model has the potential to disrupt the venture capital divide. Indian cryptocurrency exchange Zebpay launched its first female-led DAO that invests in women-founded projects, alongside mentorship for those not familiar with cryptocurrency. Members can put forth a proposal, and funding is allocated based on voting from all DAO members.

How to join the women's Web3 revolution

Payal Shah, founder of L’Dezen, one of the world's first-ever digi-physical diamond earrings is also known as a Web3 advocate and social media influencer. “I wanted to learn about the space and be invested myself so that’s what I started doing: educating myself and investing in the projects I felt passionate about. My girlfriends and I created a group to discuss projects we were interested in and why. This created a safe community to speak about everything in the space and ask the right questions,” says Shah.

 

There is still lots of work to be done. CEOs of the largest metaverse platforms are still mostly men. But with STEM becoming more accessible to females at a young age, the daunting landscape of the tech industry will hopefully change to become a more inclusive and inviting space.

You can find informative dialogues and inspirational discussions from women-led NFT founders and collectors on Twitter Spaces to begin your Web3 journey. When looking for your first NFT project to invest in, look for projects that resonate with your values, a community of people alike, or simply because you like the art. “It’s such a new world and we are all relatively new. Learn the language, and follow market leaders or people you resonate with on Twitter and Discord. Do your own research, go in with knowing the volatility and continue learning every day!” Shah advises.

While female-owned projects are undervalued for their contribution in educating and onboarding women into Web3, women have to secure representation and fight for their space together. Next time you’re out for girls’ drinks, start a dialogue and explore your curiosities together, changing the crypto-bro culture one NFT at a time.

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