Published on October 30th, 2018 | by Nancy F. Clark0
4 Ways To Uplift Yourself And Other Women In A Male-Dominated Industry
By Ilana Fraines–
As a tech startup founder, I work in a very male-dominated industry. Studies last year found that just 17 percent of startups have a female founder, and female founders receive just two percent of Venture Capital dollars. After I studied computer science and became a full-time software developer, I knew I needed to develop strategies to navigate this male-dominated industry. Now as the founder of a cryptocurrency investing platform, it’s even more important. I’ve learned to tackle new challenges like investing, developing confidence, fostering inclusion, and mentoring other women. I’ve compiled some tips to help others become a catalyst for supporting women in tech.
Tip 1: Learn About Investing
You’ve heard of the gender wage gap, but there’s also a gender investing gap. This is partly why I believe investing tools are so important. Research shows that women don’t invest as much as men do, and they don’t invest as early in life as men do. When it comes to their portfolios, women keep more in cash than men — giving it little potential to grow over time. The kicker is that when women do invest, they’re actually better at it! Evidence shows female investors have outperformed male investors over the last ten years, and that women tend to “buy and hold” to achieve their long-term money goals.
We can even the playing field by not only learning about investing, but actively participating. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or rely on many of the tools out there to get you up to speed. Whether you invest in real estate or the stock market or cryptocurrency, it’s important to overcome fear of the unknown and make your money work for you.
Tip 2: Be Confident
Many attribute the gender investing gap to confidence levels. One survey found that 60 percent of men were comfortable managing their investments, while just 35 percent of women felt comfortable managing theirs. Developing confidence is one of the most important strategies I’ve learned as a female tech founder. The most powerful advice I could’ve received early on in my career is to have confidence, ask questions, and challenge the norms. Developing confidence helps you ask for what you deserve, find your voice, and realize you’re worthy of your seat at the table.
Tip 3: Adopt A Philosophy Of Inclusion
When I started attending events in my industry, I wasn’t sure what to expect from my new industry peers. But I quickly found the crypto industry to be one of the most welcoming communities I’ve interacted with in tech. The crypto community possesses many of the ‘Burning Man’ philosophies of radical inclusion. Larry Harvey, Burning Man’s co-founder, once wrote that “we welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.” I’ve found this principle to apply the crypto industry as a whole, and I’ve taken it to heart as a founder.
To adopt this philosophy of inclusion, it’s important to hire women and other underrepresented individuals if you have the power to do so. It’s also crucial to develop transparency in the hiring process, and enact action plans focused on equality. We should all incorporate quota systems that require women to be represented in decision-making.
When it comes to the workplace, we should strive for company cultures that are inclusive by using gender-sensitive language and design, and continually re-evaluating policies and procedures to make them the best they can be.
Tip 4: Mentor Other Women
Beyond the walls of my company, it’s my personal mission to get women more active in tech and crypto investing. This starts with exposure. When women see other women boldly participating in the scene, whether it be speaking at a conference or posting a YouTube video, it will encourage other women to join in.
I advise women to mentor other women, particularly when they’re at a crossroads in their career. Share what you’ve learned and be a listening ear to help influence the next wave of female leaders to go forth with confidence.
As a founder in the tech industry, the learning curve has been steep and the journey has been rewarding. In the future, I hope we have more female tech leaders and investors that young girls like my daughter can look up to. Together, we can lift each other up and influence the tech industry’s next generation of change.
Article photo by iStockphoto-goodluz