The Negative Impact of Having ‘All Women Panels’ at Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conferences

Hosting all-women panels to discuss cryptocurrency and blockchains seems like a great idea—but they may have downsides as well, especially if the panels are the main or only venue for women. In some cases, the panels can end up reinforcing stereotypes and the gender divide, according to several in the industry.

Forbes crypto writer Rachel Wolfson speaks to women in cryptocurrency and blockchain; including Arianna Simpson, managing director of Autonomous Partners (previously interviewed by WIIWD here); who tends to avoid all-women panels now, warning against separating women into exclusive panels to demonstrate diversity—particularly if they don't get to speak extensively on the topics about which they are experts.

These new industries, many people are arguing, should be equitable from the start—not another way to divide people by gender. Focusing only on the role of women, while a vital discussion, can risk relegating women to only discussing gender issues.

There's room for women-only panels as well as integrated groups, but this is definitely an important point to consider. Read on and click through for more, and join us as we continue to support creating spaces for women—but also opportunities and platforms that highlight women and men equally.

By Rachel Wolfson

“Recently, I was at a summit where there was a ‘Pink Room’ - a place designed specifically for women. This was a rather offensive, yet telling sign of the industry. We should be using emerging industries like blockchain to end the stigmas of gender in technology, not to bolster it,” Anastasia Shvetsova, Managing Partner at M&A PR agency, told me.

Shvetsova, who has been specializing in public relations for the tech industry for seven years, has seen her fair share of gender exclusive “themes” at technology conferences. From all-women discussion panels, to pink conference rooms designed specifically for women, gender exclusivity for women at tech conferences has become a common trend.

Yet while some women in the tech space highly encourage “all women in tech” panels, others are starting to express differing opinions, especially those females innovating in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space.

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