I’m just back in from the first Scottish Bitcoin Meetup of 2015 where Marc Warne from Bittylicious gave a great talk on his experiences in running a UK Bitcoin business. With batteries now recharged and a timely catch up with a few folk in the scene, I’m now massively enthusiastic about the year ahead for Bitcoin in Scotland. We’ve already got plenty of talks and events in the pipeline and big plans to continue building out the community and ecosystem this year.
However, in the midst of all this planning, there’s one area in particular that has to be a key focus for me this year as an event organiser – and that’s the gender disparity within the Bitcoin scene. Despite the fact that there are a few high-profile names, there can be no doubt that women are currently under-represented in Bitcoin, as Lui Smyth pointed out in presenting his research back at the Scottish Bitcoin Conference last year. To be clear, this is in no way exclusively a Scottish problem. But it is something that as a relatively small but fast-developing community, we have the opportunity – but more importantly also an obligation – to change.
In many ways, it’s little surprise that there’s an uneven gender mix when it comes to Bitcoiners, given the fact that the main feeder pools of interest (finance, technology, gamers, even arguably high-risk takers) tend to be dominated by males according to existing research. I’ll go into my reasons behind this belief more fully in a future post but, as I mentioned in my talk at the Conference, I’m a strong supporter of the viewpoint that the involvement of women is crucial to Bitcoin’s success. We’re a long way from putting together a Women in Bitcoin group here at this stage in Scotland but personally I’d be delighted to see one take off.
So, for my part, I’ll do what I can to help. There are various female-focused tech groups within the Scottish startup and business scene and so far their response to suggested Bitcoin events for their members has been unanimously positive. Obviously if anyone reads this and would like to organise something along these lines also, please do get in touch as I’d be more than happy to help.
And I’m desperate to avoid putting on another conference with an all-male speaker list as I was forced to do last year. That to me would represent failure on my part.
So – game on.