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We Need More Female Programmers In Blockchain Posted on Oct 10 - 2018

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Early pioneers in computer science were women. Women like Grace Hopper, Jean Bartik, Dame Stephanie Shirley and Lynn Conway, were among the first programmers as the field emerged, and left a lasting mark on the industry. In fact, back in its early stages programming was primarily a female-oriented profession and women were the largest trained technical workforce of the computing industry during the second world war right through until the mid-sixties.

Then in the 1970’s things changed. Personal computers came onto the market. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates came onto the scene, job advertisements for programmers started targeting males. Computer games were targeted at boys, and the stereotype of the computer programmer as a reclusive, anti-social eccentric male nerd was born. The number of women majoring in computer science and software development began to drop, from close to 40 per cent in the 1980’s to around 15 percent today.  In crypto and blockchain less than nine percent of the current community are female and the number of female programmers in this space is even less.

So how can this trend be reversed and how can the unhelpful stereotype of recent years be undone? How can we once again encourage, support and train female programmers to ensure women are an equal and integral part of this booming and promising industry?

After all, blockchain is a revolutionary technology that has the potential to transform many industries and the way we do business, but doing so will require divergent thinking, different perspectives, creativity and the ability to innovate, all of which, research shows time and time again, are driven by diversity – gender included.

At the same time we live in a world facing many complex, interconnected and wicked problems, the likes of which cannot be solved with the same thinking that created them. We need all of our collective and diverse ideas and experiences to come up with the solutions to today’s challenges and create tomorrow’s future.

Many in the industry recognize this power of diversity. Marie Wieck, General Manager at IBM Blockchain believes that, “when you get interdisciplinary engagement and skills and people who have come from different backgrounds, that really does create an innovation sandbox.”

Cryptocurrency exchange, Cryptopia, are working to increase diversity across all teams, “not to only reach gender parity, but as a strong step forward in striving towards the creativity and ingenuity that fuels innovation – which can only be achieved through diversity.”

In addition, gender diversity can lead to higher returns and valuation, according to Salam Khanji, CTO of Jordan based blockchain company Green Tomorrow. A study of gender diversity in some of the top firms in the US found that, on average, female representation in top management leads to an increase of $42 million in firm value.  Clearly gender diversity pays. View More

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