How is Blockchain Technology Empowering Women?
Despite leading the drive for change in many aspects of modern life, the tech industry has historically been one of the worst for gender equality. However, it appears that technology may eventually begin to dismantle some of the obstacles to entry, transforming the socio-economic landscape beyond recognition. It has the potential to put women and other underrepresented groups on the financial and technological map.
Let us begin by Understanding What Blockchain is and why does it Matter?
You’d have to be living under a rock or off the grid in the wild not to know what bitcoin is. However, it is the world’s first decentralized digital money for those who haven’t heard of bitcoin. It operates without using a central bank or another third-party mediator instead of relying on a peer-to-peer computer network. The technology that undermines bitcoin and all other cryptocurrencies is known as the blockchain.
Simply put, a blockchain is a distributed database that is shared via a peer-to-peer computer network. Each machine can add data to the blockchain, but none of them can change it. This results in a ledger of immutable data points with time stamps. They are very resilient to corruption and data loss because they are dispersed throughout a worldwide network.
While this may appear highly high-tech, and implementation is still in its early phases, the underlying principles are both elegant and straightforward. They have far-reaching consequences as well. Without the need for a third party, we can have a high level of confidence if we have an immutable public ledger that no one can change retrospectively. Because contracts and escrow are managed through the blockchain, there is no need for a centralized entity with a server controlling transactions and banks acting as middlemen.
The Real Value of the Blockchain Lies Ahead of its Technology.
We could spend all day discussing the technical elements of blockchain. We can use all the terms we want, but they will obfuscate rather than illustrate the benefits to the typical individual. Instead of saying peer-to-peer, we may say decentralized. And we may debate the benefits and drawbacks of various anonymity and encryption solutions all day long without ever getting to the heart of blockchain’s true power.
Because data becomes information when it has value, and people allocate value, the value of any blockchain is determined by its users and uses. The blockchain database remains inactive and empty without people who want to store data; without individuals who want to share and use it, it remains a series of untapped connections between computers. A blockchain can only be helpful if the user community is interested and active. However, the potential power of such a community is enormous.
Blockchain isn’t a single invention; it’s a collection of protocols, some of which are well-established and others that are currently under development. However, how they are integrated has the potential to cause significant societal change.
In terms of traditional financial services, almost two-thirds of the world’s population have accounts, but only 53% of them utilize them regularly. Women, minorities, unemployed, or otherwise disadvantaged groups in affluent towns, or more impoverished areas that rely primarily on a cash economy, are typically the populations without accounts or dormant accounts.
If the blockchain can perform secure financial transactions outside of traditional banks, it might reach 42 percent of women, 224 million Chinese, and 370 million Indians who do not have bank accounts.
Did you know Collective Intelligence Encourages Personal Empowerment?
In the development of blockchain technology, collective intelligence is critical. Many blockchain initiatives are built on open-source platforms, allowing anybody to participate and contribute. Everyone must meet the same conditions to join and contribute to the blockchain. Regardless matter who writes it, good code is good code.
Women also appear to be more likely to develop blockchain solutions that directly align with corporate social responsibility, community, and the sharing economy. A feminist movement has emerged within the blockchain realm, with the hashtag #satoshiisfemale being created to disseminate the idea of blockchain and female empowerment in impoverished countries.
Similarly, anyone can run a node and contribute to the network’s security. Gender, race, religion, sexuality, nationality, or any other potentially divisive or discriminatory element are not mentioned in transactions. The blockchain, in reality, is unconcerned with who owns what or what’s within wallets or data packets. It simply records that an exchange has occurred and the information provided by the users.
This agnosticism about user data while adhering to agreed-upon standards to track transaction events and amounts is causing such a seismic shift in mindset in the IT industry and hopefully in the broader social fabric of our existence.
Because, for the first time, progress is based on value. Contributions are evaluated only based on their quality, with no consideration given to gender, color, or any other political factor. The peer-to-peer system is built on equality, and the barrier to entry and use is substantially lower than in traditional financial markets. With every blockchain rushing to reach critical mass and inspire mass adoption, inclusion is the name of the game.
“For the first time in history, we can inject ideals like generosity, equality, and goodness into our currencies,” Mama Hope’s Nyla Rodgers adds.
Individuals will regain control of their data if these values are implemented. Data is the most important economic resource of our time, yet individual data is now stored in silos owned by private firms. It is utilized and resold for commercial objectives, and in recent cases, for public opinion manipulation, without the consumer being aware of the use made of it.
Social media systems like Facebook and Twitter could be decentralized using blockchain technology. Global data would be anonymized and auctioned, but each user’s data would be decrypted using his private key. Users could even make micropayments to use services they now deem free but pay for their personal information. Some services even attempt to put the control, sale, and use of a user’s data in the user’s hands and build a revenue-sharing model around it.
Not only may open-source platforms inspire large communities of innovators to get engaged, collaborate, and shine as individuals as a result of their collaboration, but the user platforms that are being developed are frequently meant to give back power to the person.
Empowering Individuals can Formulate new Socio-economic Models.
Individuals who were previously disenfranchised or underprivileged are now able to participate in the development of new technology and the socio-economic environment in which it works. These new members complete the virtuous cycle by adding diversity to collective intelligence and disrupting the socio-economic landscape. With new people and new experiences come new expectations and requirements to be addressed.
Because blockchain technology eliminates the need for a third-party guarantee and solves individual trust, it allows for the formation of new types of governance and relationships based on the transparency of interactions. Individuals who are disenfranchised and marginalized are more likely to be drawn to these new techniques. As with any society shift, caution must be exercised to avoid abuse while allowing for critical experimentation that could have substantial societal advantages.
In the economic realm, blockchains assist in the renewal of economic democracy by allowing individuals to form common communities of interest (i.e., Open Value Networks). They enable top-down distribution patterns from a single producer to consumers to be transformed into a network of small producers and customers. Other industries, such as energy production and agriculture, and automobile and telecommunications, may benefit from this. Decentralization aids product traceability while also bolstering producer and consumer accountability.
Individual re-appropriation of power must be accompanied by an increase in consciousness and collective intelligence in the societal sphere to have any long-term effect. With power comes responsibility, as it does with anything.
To be clear, blockchain isn’t a silver bullet. It also has no power to change social norms. However, it has the potential to be transformative. It has the potential to increase women’s economic prospects and engagement. It has the potential to entice the economically disadvantaged to participate in areas where they have rights but lack the infrastructure to exercise them.
Real political progress can only be realized when a sufficient percentage of the economically underprivileged are involved and empowered.