Interest in Web3 continues to grow despite the crypto bear market. A recent article from McKinsey noted that venture capital investments in Web3 exceeded $18 billion during the first half of 2022. Findings from Cointelegraph Research also show that Web3 attracted the most interest from venture capitalists in comparison to other blockchain sectors during Q2 of this year.
While notable, a lack of diversity has become apparent within the Web3 sector. For instance, it was found that only 16% of nonfungible token (NFT) creators are women. Although this number is low, women are taking an interest in owning digital assets. Given this, industry experts believe that a lack of education around Web3 is creating a barrier to entry for women, especially for those who are from underrepresented regions, such as those from Latin America.
Initiatives to bring Latin American women to Web3
Sandy Carter, senior vice president and channel chief of Unstoppable Domains — an NFT domain name provider and digital identity platform — told Cointelegraph that she has seen increased demand for Web3 content from women living in Brazil, Columbia and several additional Spanish-speaking countries, including Spain.
“On March 8, 2022, Unstoppable Domains launched ‘Unstoppable Women of Web3,’ which is a diversity and education group focusing on training talent to equalize the playing field in Web3. Following this, a number of Latinas reached out requesting Web3 content in various languages,” she said.
In order to cater to these requests, Carter explained that Unstoppable Domains recently initiated a goal to onboard 5 million Latin American women into Web3 by 2030. Carter added that this initiative is being launched in partnership with H.E.R. DAO LATAM — a women-led developer decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) championing diversity — along with the Spanish-language crypto education platform CryptoConexión. She said:
“Education is the first step to building a more inclusive Web3. We have partnered with women from 25 different groups to help create educational materials around Web3 in Spanish. We are also distributing over $25 million worth of free NFT domains to five million Latinas to help them build and control their digital identity as a gateway into the sector.”
According to Carter, initiatives like these are becoming more important, as she pointed out that women who live in or trace their ancestry to Latin America continue to be underrepresented in the tech industry. To put this in perspective, data from the online tech community Built In found that only 2% of computing-related jobs in the United States are held by women of Latin American descent. The same applies in Latin America itself, where women are significantly underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math fields, according to research from IDB.
Monica Talan, founder of CryptoConexión, told Cointelegraph that organizations must take an education-first approach that incorporates different languages to bridge the Web3 diversity gap, stating, “CryptoConexión has an initiative called ‘WAGMI LatAm,’ where our mission is to ensure access to Web3 content in English, Spanish and Portuguese.”
Additionally, Laura Navarro Muñoz, governor of H.E.R. DAO LATAM, told Cointelegraph that the organization is helping women in Latin America transition to Web3 by providing travel scholarships to events and hackathons.
Groups like H.E.R. DAO LATAM and CryptoConexión have already started making an impact. Bricia Gabriela Guzmán Chávez, community manager at Web3Equity — a Web3 platform promoting gender equality — told Cointelegraph that she got her first job in the sector after obtaining a scholarship from H.E.R. DAO LATAM to attend a cryptocurrency event:
“I heard a speaker say, ‘If we want to have more inclusion, we have to do it.’ That day, I joined the H.E.R. DAO Global Telegram where someone shared a position for ‘Discord moderator.’ I applied, and my life changed. Yet, at that moment, I didn’t have the hard skills that I have right now, so I’m grateful that they gave me their vote of confidence.”
According to Guzmán Chávez, H.E.R. DAO LATAM also created a scholarship program following ETH Mexico called “Hacker Mom Scholar.” Through this, she was able to attend Devcon VI with her three children. “Currently, I’m working full-time remotely on Web3 projects, and each chance that these projects provide me to attend Web3 events is an opportunity to improve the quality of my life,” Guzmán Chávez mentioned.
Talan further remarked that it’s important for Latin American women to get involved in Web3 due to the demand the sector is witnessing in the region, especially in places like Mexico.
“Mexico is seeing more people use crypto for remittances,” she said. According to World Bank statistics, Mexico was the second-largest recipient of remittances in the world last year. Given this, a number of Web3 companies are setting up shop in Mexico to enable crypto remittances. “We need information available about how crypto remittances can be used. I believe this can be better achieved if we have more women building these products,” Talan said.
Challenges for Latin American women seeking jobs in Web3
While it’s notable that organizations are focused on bringing women from Latin America to the Web3 sector, challenges such as hiring freezes and access to technology may hamper adoption. For instance, data from Crypto Jobs List noted that the number of job listings and talent interested in the space has declined about 30%–40% in comparison to the last bull market in February 2022.
On the flip side, Web3 is enabling more remote job opportunities, which may help drive a diverse workforce. “Web3 is helping people get high-paying jobs regardless of their location. All they need are the skills, which is why we are focused on education first,” Navarro Muñoz pointed out.
Diana Carolyn Olvera Gómez, a Web3 researcher, told Cointelegraph that H.E.R. DAO LATAM gave her the opportunity to participate in her first hackathon. The organization also presented her with educational content in Spanish. In turn, Olvera Gómez shared that she remotely serves as a contributor to Web3Montréal, a Canadian nonprofit focused on Web3, and to Coinmiles, a Bitcoin (BTC) rewards platform.
However, Olvera Gómez mentioned that access to technology, such as Web3 initiatives, can be complicated for many women living in regions like Latin America. Yet she believes that a ripple effect will drive women’s involvement as more get involved.
“Web3 communities dedicated to women provide an opportunity to bridge the gender gap in the workplace.” Carter added that demand from women wanting to participate within Web3 is there, yet supplying the correct educational content is the next challenge:
“We are in a bear market, but this is the time for building. Energy and enthusiasm around the space haven’t waned. We just need to figure out how to supply education to those interested in learning more.”