From our steadfast pursuit of a Web3 future that reflects the ideals of a decentralized, transparent, secure, and inclusive internet of value, we take this moment to pause and recognize International Women’s Day (IWD). Today, we celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women, while reminding ourselves of the ongoing struggles that women around the world face in their pursuit of the freedom, agency, and equality that are the hallmarks of a just and equitable society.
The theme of IWD 2023 is “Embrace Equity“. From the EOS Network Foundation’s vantage at the forefront of innovation in Web3, this aligns with the principles that animate the work we do every day, to further extend free and open source software, access to resources and information, the tools for financial innovation, and the emergent organizational capacity of next-generation DAOs. The ENF is a young organization in a highly dynamic environment and we are shaped by the extraordinary individuals who have aligned themselves with our struggle to renew the EOS Network in ways that honor its true potential. We believe that diverse viewpoints and perspectives lend significant insight to the incredible challenges we face. As we continue to evolve the EOS Ecosystem, we take this occasion to celebrate the immeasurable contributions made by the women at the ENF, and the women of the wider Web3 space of which we are a part.
“Women’s History Day is important to me because it recognizes and celebrates the significant impact we have made in various fields, such as science, tech, art, sports, and many others, despite facing numerous challenges and barriers.”
The History of International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day (IWD) has a rich history that dates back to the early 1900s, when women in many countries were campaigning for better working conditions, the right to vote, and an end to discrimination. The first National Women’s Day was observed in the United States on February 28, 1909, in honor of a garment worker’s strike in New York City that began on March 8, 1857, organized by women who were protesting against the poor working conditions.
The first official International Women’s Day was celebrated on March 19, 1911, in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland, with rallies and demonstrations demanding women’s right to vote, hold public office, and have equal pay with men. In subsequent years, IWD was celebrated on various dates in different countries, but it was officially recognized by the United Nations in 1975, which declared March 8th as International Women’s Day.
“International Women’s Day is about the celebration of women, the movement towards advancement, equity, and recognition of what it took to achieve this progress. We must keep the conversation going to ensure that this movement continues globally. It begins with our girls all over the world, by giving them the tools to succeed, including education or even access to education, opportunities, and allowing their voices to be heard.”
A Snapshot of Women in Web3
A recent study by Boston Consulting Group and People of Crypto Lab, found that just 13 percent of Web3 founding teams included at least one woman, and just 3 percent of companies have a team that is exclusively female. In funding, the study revealed that all-male founding teams raise nearly four times as much, on average, as all-female teams (almost $30 million compared to about $8 million).
A 2020 report by Outlier Ventures found that women made up 19% of participants in Web3 events and conferences. The report also noted that only 3% of the speakers at these events were women. This suggests that while women are increasingly participating in the Web3 space, they still face barriers to leadership roles and visibility.
In contrast, at the ENF women account for 9 of 39 employees, or 23% of the overall staff, with CMO Patty Fisher providing significant representation among the five person executive team.
“On this day, two words that really resonate with me are: gratitude and inspiration. Gratitude, for all the pioneers that have helped to create what’s possible today for women around the world. Inspiration, for the contributions, grit, courage, and strength of women this day acknowledges. We celebrate the accomplishment and understand there is still work ahead…especially in tech.”
Women’s Unique Impact on Web3 and Business
Despite being under-represented in tech and Web3, women have made monumental contributions on everything from the foundations of computer programming itself, Ada Lovelace, to the pioneering efforts in cryptography by Turing Award winner Shafi Goldwasser, co-inventor of the zero-knowledge proof. While in more contemporary endeavors, heading up the hugely significant Lightning Network aimed at scaling Bitcoin, is Elizabeth Stark, computer scientist and Founder of Lightning Labs. In media, there’s blockchain journalist Laura Shin, host of the Unchained podcast. Despite the dismal percentages, women have been, and continue to make outsized contributions in the world of Web3.
“International Women’s History Month highlights the ongoing struggle for gender equality and women’s rights, both in the past and present. At the ENF we have an opportunity to raise awareness about the continuing challenges faced by women around the world, such as gender-based violence, unequal pay, limited access to education, healthcare, and political representation, among others. By acknowledging and addressing these issues, Women’s History Month can help to inspire change and promote a more equitable and inclusive society for all.”
Women bring a unique perspective to problem-solving and their underwhelming presence in Web3 indicates enormous unrealized potential. In recent years, evidence is mounting that companies with higher representation of women in leadership positions have been shown to have better financial performance and innovation.
A study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics found that companies with at least 30% of women in leadership positions had a 6% higher net profit margin than companies with no women in leadership roles.
Research from the Harvard Business Review found that diverse teams are better at innovation and problem-solving. When people from different backgrounds and with different perspectives collaborate, they bring different ideas to the table and can come up with more creative solutions.
A study by McKinsey & Company found that companies with gender-diverse executive teams were more likely to make better decisions than those with less diverse teams. In fact, the study found that “companies in the top quartile for gender diversity in their executive teams were 15 percent more likely to experience above-peer average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile.”
A study by Catalyst found that companies with more women in leadership positions had lower turnover rates among their employees. This could be due to a number of factors, including better communication, more inclusive workplace policies, and a more collaborative culture.
“Today, women in Web3 are like unicorns, and the handful of those who are heard and seen have the opportunity to bring others to light. Mentorship is so important amongst women, and it empowers others to address issues such as lack of diversity, gender bias, lack of role models, and access to funding. The Web3 space is still developing, and it is important to address these challenges to ensure that it is a more equitable and inclusive space for all genders.”
Nurturing a Web3 Future To Sustain Us All
On this International Women’s Day, at the ENF we reaffirm our commitment to embracing equity and diversity of opinion in the work that we do to support our efforts to create an open technology ecosystem for all. We recognize the challenges that women have faced in the past and continue to face today, and we are committed to being part of the solution.
The Web3 industry has the potential to be a force for positive change, and we believe that embracing equity and diversity is essential to unlocking that potential.
*Women’s Day cover art bearing the likeness of ENF employees, created with Midjourney
The EOS Network is a 3rd generation blockchain platform powered by the EOS VM, a low-latency, highly performant, and extensible WebAssembly engine for deterministic execution of near feeless transactions; purpose-built for enabling optimal Web3 user and developer experiences. EOS is the flagship blockchain and financial center of the Antelope framework, serving as the driving force behind multi-chain collaboration and public goods funding for tools and infrastructure through the EOS Network Foundation (ENF).
EOS Network Foundation
The EOS Network Foundation (ENF) was forged through a vision for a prosperous and decentralized future. Through our key stakeholder engagement, community programs, ecosystem funding, and support of an open technology ecosystem, the ENF is transforming Web3. Founded in 2021, the ENF is the hub for EOS Network, a leading open source platform with a suite of stable frameworks, tools, and libraries for blockchain deployments. Together, we are bringing innovations that our community builds and are committed to a stronger future for all.