Bitcoin is further evidence that the “glass ceiling,” the idea that women are kept from reaching the ranks in corporations and in financial success because of a nebulous “patriarchy,” is nonsense.
Economists have disproved the glass ceiling on more than one occasion in the past, so the more well-read will not be shocked by this. Yet, the existence of the glass ceiling has remained a major talking point for feminists. The silence of feminists during the rise of Bitcoin has been deafening.
Bitcoin is an interesting case study because it is modern and doesn’t have the excuses that you hear when the glass ceiling argument breaks out. There is no Bitcoin establishment or “old boys’ club,” because Bitcoin has no establishment. Bitcoin is hardly established, and there is no one central authority.
Feminists claim that “institutions have always had biases” and “it’s a man’s game,” but Bitcoin didn’t come with any biases. It didn’t come with anything. It was nothing ten years ago, and its meteoric growth is well-known.
Bitcoin was created in 2009, a time where women had established themselves in various industries, most notably tech (see: Meg Whitman, Sheryl Sandberg). Nine years later, only three percent (at most) of Bitcoin use (suggested through Bitcoin community engagement) is by women.
Is this the patriarchy keeping women from investing? No. There is nothing that stops women from investing in Bitcoin. Women don’t even need to go to banks to introduce an intermediary which could discriminate against them.
So why aren’t more women investing in Bitcoin? There are a number of reasons for this.
1. Bitcoin is Boring
There are no emotions involved in cryptocurrency investing. Women are more likely to get involved in areas that stir their emotions, from the social sciences to humanitarian work to political rallies.
Bitcoin is mathematical. It was created with a white paper and some computer programming. Since more women take up studies in the arts or humanities than math, it is more difficult to understand the concept and takes more work.
Also, because women prefer soft subjects to hard ones, women end up in jobs related to the arts and humanities versus the hard sciences. They will be more likely surrounded by men and mostly women that also did not study math and computer science and will not be interested in—or understand—Bitcoin.
In addition, Bitcoin isn’t tangible. You can’t feel it in your hands, so you cannot wave it around to boost or lower your status without hopping on a male-centric Reddit page (HODL!!). This reduces the emotional connection to it because there is no physical thing to attach a feeling to. Where money can be a sign of prosperity or options, the numbers in a bit wallet are less tangible.
2. There Is A Lot Of Risk
Women generally value security and strength, which we have seen in relationship dynamics and the number of careers chosen as opposed to entrepreneurs. Men are more willing to take chances.
One of Bitcoin’s tenets is that it is less risky than fiat dollars because it is not subject to inflation and to crumbling governments, so it should be more stable. However, Bitcoin is still young and has a wildly fluctuating value. It is this perceived value that people see as risky, not the idea. It is these wild fluctuations in value that appeal to men.
Bitcoin is also a long-term investment. Bitcoin believers believe the cryptocurrency will be more durable than fiat and will be a superior currency. Women are much more likely to spend and distribute wealth than to build it through investing.
3. Bitcoin Is Competitive
Men eat what we kill. We evolved to eat the animals we hunted, and we still do that in the modern economy. In a tribal setting, the man that hunted the most for his tribe was rewarded with more power and more women to bang. We evolved to be competitive and to fight for the top spot.
These days, men are more likely to participate in sports and more likely to try new things to get ahead (see here). Bitcoin is competitive with other cryptocurrencies as people (men) race to market and grow their currency of choice. Bitcoin is also competitive as a store of wealth. The more men own, the more men can use our primal brains to associate with power and sex.
These are the reasons why only three percent of Bitcoin users—a completely decentralized, open world without bias—are women. These are the same reasons that men make more money than women in the workplace. It isn’t the patriarchy. It’s the evolutionary and behavioral differences in men and women that decide the numbers.
Men are competitive, find freedom in long-term wealth, and are more excited about new ideas and a new, selfish way to increase wealth. At least, more than women.