The ability to work and rub shoulders with bright minds from around the world is one of the reasons why I love my job so much. I am also incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to work closely with several notable women, one being the CEO of my company and another being my Managing Editor, to name a few.
While the tech world is notorious for being a male-dominated space, steps are being taken to narrow the gap between males and females in the workplace.
Gender Equality, also known as United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UN-SDG) 5, is a special focus of Monetix.io, a fintech company and sustainable investing firm through Impact Investing and ESG, headquartered in Switzerland.
Monetix supports all 17 UN-SDGs projects and initiatives—not just the 5th—and provides simple access to affordable financing, education, and employable skill-building programs in Africa in alignment with the UN SDGs.
Every Tuesday at 5 p.m. CET, Monetix hosts a webcast with a niche of promoting UN-SDGs, impact investing, and ESG. In honor of International Women’s Day, the March 8 episode focused on UN-SGD 5, Gender Equality.
Hello world ,
"Women are designed by God to multiply things. So if you give a woman money or grocery, they will give you meal on your table…. – @cresbabiera on our #womensday2023 Webcast
Watch our women's day webcast here 👉🏽 https://t.co/fzTnmrEHe9 pic.twitter.com/NsYb2hg4Ie
— Monetix (@monetixio) March 29, 2023
This episode, hosted by Monetix’s Crescenda Babiera, Head of Business Development, featured six gorgeous women from around the world: Wanyana Liz Prossy, Software Engineer from Uganda; Dr. Thelma Frimpong Mensah, Assurance Senior at Deloitte Ghana; Vanessa Barrameda, General Manager at Xurpas, Inc. from the Philippines; Ewa Merino, Director of Finance and Operations of the BSV Blockchain Association Switzerland; Lise Li, CEO & Founder at Shanghai Keyi Technology Co., Ltd from China; and Diddy Wheldon, videographer, editor, producer and host of Women of BSV YouTube channel from the United Kingdom.
Merino, Li, and Wheldon are active women within the BSV blockchain space, a community that is working hard to engage more talented women and nurture environments that promote gender equality, especially at events such as the upcoming London Blockchain Conference.
Throughout the two-hour webcast, the group covered five controversial topics within the realm of gender equality, providing unique perspectives based on where they sit around the globe.
Several themes emerged throughout the discussion; the importance of education, working together, and focusing on the positive. At the webcast’s conclusion, each participant revealed their best advice for women working in their field, but before we get to these gems, I’ll summarize what was covered during each of the five topics.
Sexual harassment and assault against women
Barrameda started the discussion by confirming a law against sexual harassment in the Philippines, but the punishment is too mild, especially for executives on a big salary.
Wheldon provided some shocking numbers on rape incidences in the U.K. and shared a personal story of how it can be challenging to speak out because men in power might choose to revoke the privileges of employees as a threat or punishment for reporting an incident.
In Switzerland, there is a Gender Equality Act, and according to Merino, most companies have a dedicated HR representative to deal with sexual assault. However, there can still be a fear of speaking up.
Li encouraged women who experience harassment to reach out to someone—if not a colleague or someone who knows the perpetrator.
“We shouldn’t keep the shame and the anger to ourselves,” she advised.
Baberia was “stunned” by the perspectives on this topic from all the different regions and provided her own perspective as well.
“First, as a woman, we need to educate ourselves, educate other women about our rights, whatever our country is…we should know everything about it, so when to speak up and we can protect ourselves. If in case the country’s law to protect women is not enough, then maybe we can jump into another solution—self-defense,” Baberia suggested.
Violence against women and girls, including domestic abuse
Barrameda continued with the topic by referencing a 2017 survey in the Philippines that concluded one in four women aged 15 to 49 years old had experienced physical violence by their husbands or partners.
Wheldon shared some stats from the U.K. and pointed out that mental abuse is sometimes worse than physical abuse because of its long-lasting effect.
Prossy talked about some issues in Uganda with young girls looking older than their age and being a target for domestic abuse.
“I think from the Ugandan perspective, we need to educate, empower those small girls at a very young age, encourage them to speak up,” she said.
Merino pointed out that although there are gender equality rights in Europe and Switzerland, still over 60% of all domestic abuse cases are against women.
“I think the statistics are very similar all over the world. Women are the weaker gender, women are less aggressive, men are more aggressive all over the world. There are also cultural aspects that play into it. And yeah, I am afraid that it will still take a long, long time before those statistics change and I’m not even sure if they will ever change,” she said.
“Make sure that wherever you are in the world that you’ve got a doctor or a health adviser or a nurse or someone that is there that you can also reach out to,” Wheldon added.
Parental leave and work-life balance policies
Li opened up the discussion this time, sharing stories from her past. She explained how women usually end up taking care of the children in the case of a divorce, and for women with higher education, getting into marriages and having children is, therefore, something usually avoided.
Dr. Mensah confirmed women in Ghana (same as Uganda) are granted three months off work for maternity leave which can be difficult if there is no family around to help after the three months. She also said you could not look for a new job in Ghana if you are pregnant.
In Switzerland, three months maternity leave is also the standard, and Merino added, “I would also agree to that at the end of the day, it’s mostly the women who take care of the children. So it’s always a worse situation career-wise for the woman than for the man, because usually it’s the woman who has to take off the time,” she said.
“I don’t know how to fix this, to be honest, the work-life balance and how to make sure the father and mother can take equal responsibilities in the family. However, it does cause a huge social problem in many countries, the birth rate is getting lower and the lower even in China,” Li pointed out.
Despite the challenges women face with maternity leave and getting hired when they are of childbearing age, Dr. Mensah said, “I believe that we are coming to a place where gradually women are accepting the fact that the men have put us in the background for too long. And even the men themselves know that when we women are in charge, we deliver and we do better than they do”.
“We are getting to understand the fact that, hey, we women need to support each other. We need to collaborate more. We need to hold each other’s hand and climb the ladder together because there is so much room at the top for all of us,” she added.
Forced marriages and child marriages
Wheldon jumped in straight away and said she does not agree with forced marriages or child marriages in any way whatsoever. Barrameda agreed 100% and added that in the Philippines, it is sometimes an economic thing—the women marry rich foreigners so they can help out their families. In Africa, it can be because of family pressure.
In order to avoid these types of situations, all panelists agreed it all comes down to education and being able to provide for yourself. Barberia pointed out that education does not have to come from an expensive American university—with technology as available as it is today, we can learn a lot online, so let’s use it.
Women’s access to healthcare and reproductive services, including contraception and family planning
Merino took the lead with this one, providing perspectives from Poland, where she is from, and Switzerland, where she resides. Abortion is pretty much illegal in Poland due to its Catholic views, but in Switzerland, it’s much more liberal, and couples have access to contraceptives and family planning resources.
“It’s usually the woman who has the burden of having the child, you know. So each woman should have the choice and to make her own decision and decide if she wants this or not and how she wants it,” Merino said.
Dr. Mensah explained that despite religion, children are going to do what they want to do, and it’s best to educate them on contraception while they are young. They should be able to decide what to do with their bodies.
Li referenced China’s famous “one-child policy” and said that women were expected to use a metal device within their bodies to prevent pregnancy, vs. males getting a vasectomy. Why did the women need to undergo the procedure and not the men?
Wrapping the webcast, Babiera asked each panelist to share a short piece of advice to all the women out there, somehow relating it back to the industry they represent.
Wheldon’s advice: Speak out, or write it down if you have no one to talk to. Go online. Don’t hold it inside.
Li’s advice: Instead of focusing on the disadvantages, focus on the advantages of being a woman. Focus on the positive.
Merino’s advice: Your competition is not your fellow woman. Your collaborator is your fellow woman. Find a female mentor.
Barrameda’s advice: No matter how hard it gets, don’t quit—just keep trying.
Dr. Mensah’s advice: Life is short. The sky is the limit. Go for it. You are the only one who can get your own way.
Prossy’s advice: Approach people. Help each other. Stand up for each other. Don’t ever lose hope.
Babiera’s advice: Women multiply things. If you give us love, we will give you more.
Watch: Women of BSV talk Adoption w/ Ruth & Diddy!
New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.