There's no denying that representation in the tech industry is pretty terrible. I've been the only woman on countless engineering teams, and it frankly sucks.
Not only does it suck, but the world has seen time after time how a lack of diversity has negatively impacted systems and designs. (Such as when Google's image recognition services made offensive classifications of minorities, Microsoft's chatbots adopted hate speech, and Amazon technology failed to recognize users with darker skin colors.)
Initiatives like Girls Who Code and Ada Developers Academy are working to change this and are dedicated to making tech more representative of society at large. But, it's an ongoing battle, as women still only hold 1/4 of tech-related jobs.
I always viewed it as just another boys club, a toxic niche - with limited utility - within the already adversarial wider tech space. Just another subset of tech where I didn't feel represented or welcome. When I heard about the Bitcoin conference renting out a strip club for a networking party a few years back, I rolled my eyes and decided it was just another area of tech probably not worth investing my time.
That all changed for me the day I stumbled upon a video of Gavin Wood, the founder of Polkadot and Ethereum, speaking about his vision of creating a better internet and society - one where technology is used to forge new ways to collaborate, organize, and trust one another.
"Web3 is really about allowing people to come together and coordinate their efforts for something greater than the sum of its parts."
And that really resonated with me. I soon learned about Polkadot's green approach to uniting blockchains forming the basis for a truly interoperable decentralized web. It genuinely has the capability to transform technology and society itself, and I knew I wanted to be involved.
Yes, the same problems exist with representation/toxicity in Web3 as there are in tech in general. But we have to remember it is still early days when it comes to Web3 and blockchain tech.
Women and gender minorities can get involved now and help steer the direction. We are now, but we don't have to be minorities within the space.
And think of how powerful that could be if we get involved while things are still shaping!
Sure, some bros have made some mistakes while at the helm so far, but why not jump in and course correct while we still can?
It's not too late. It's still possible to help Web3 not repeat the mistakes of the wider tech industry.
So that's what I'm doing. That's why I'm now here in the Web3 space. I'm beyond inspired by Polkadot's mission and feel equally excited about being a part of it all.
Yes, I want to be a part of building the decentralized web, but more importantly, I want other women to join me.
I want to create space for them to feel welcome, included, and a part of that journey.
The new season of my podcast, We Belong Here, has recently launched - and it's completely dedicated to celebrating the stories of those who are diversifying the Web3 space!
🎙Check out to We Belong Here today🎙
I've always hated when people gatekeep and make tech seem cool by claiming how difficult it is to learn. There's, without a doubt, an opportunity to humanize Web3 and blockchain technology and make it more approachable.
As a prior high school teacher, I know how important it is to break down complex topics and make them engaging and accessible to all styles of learners.
I'm excited to share my learning journey with anyone curious about Web3 but have never felt welcomed or encouraged to learn more.
So join me. I promise to remove my ego, to be vulnerable, and to share my learnings with you - to document my confusion and my dumb questions - so you don't feel alone if you're confused too.
No Crypto Bros here, just me, a new mom who's stoked to build decentralized applications and who will teach you how to too.
-- 👩🏼💻Lauren (lolocoding.com)