Sunday was International Women’s Day, when the Bitcoin community is joined with others around the world to promote awareness of women’s issues by launching its first Bitcoin Women’s Day. Like International Women’s Day, Bitcoin Women’s Day is not just for women, says Sarah Boone Martin of the Digital Currency Council. The issues that women are concerned about equal access to healthcare, to financial systems, to the world economy, to employment, to education; a sustainable environment, personal safety, security and autonomy – these are all issues that are important to the Bitcoin community as a whole.The purpose of Bitcoin Women’s Day can be broken down into three key goals: first, to celebrate the accomplishments of women in the space; second, to raise awareness of issues and barriers they face both within and outside of that space; and third, to promote Bitcoin as a means of addressing some of the issues that women face around the world.Leading up to Bitcoin Women’s Day, decentral.tv aired episodes that addressed some of these concerns.
On Tuesday’s episode, Tatiana Moroz discussed her role in helping to found the Women’s Crypto Association. She noted that there are few women in venture capital, which influences how projects are funded. “Men value things differently than women. More diversity in the venture capital space will lead to more diversity in the products that are created and the companies that are born,” she said. Moroz encouraged more women to join the Women’s Crypto Association. “There are a lot of great women in the space”, she said, but noted that they don’t necessarily get the invitations to speak at events. “We’d like to have more of a “best practices” for conferences”, Moroz said. “We don’t want anything particularly special. We want it to be noticed that we are also contributing.” She objected to the way that many conferences relegate women speakers to a “Women in Bitcoin” type of panel. “That’s not enough”, says Moroz. “Lots of women have experience in a variety of different topics. Offering them actual speaking engagements rather than just a panel on women is a better direction for us to go in.”
Decentral Talk Live also featured a conversation with Connie Gallippi, whose BitGive Foundation is the first charity to receive 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. The type of projects that BitGive work on include Save the Children, which now accepts bitcoin directly; the Water Project, which brings clean and safe water to sub-Saharan Africa; and Medic Mobile, which uses mobile phones and open source software to improve healthcare in the developing world.Gallippi recently has been to Africa to see a well that BitGive funded entirely through bitcoin donations. In co-operation with BitPesa, a short video is being produced that chronicles the Water Projects’ bitcoin-funded well and looks at the future social impact of bitcoin in developing countries. “The technology is there but we just need to build out the infrastructure and user base”, says Gallippi.
The week ended with an interview with Anne Connelly, director of marketing and fundraising for Dignitas International, a charity that aims to transform healthcare for the most vulnerable. Dignitas delivers frontline care in Malawi, conducts research and develops practical solutions and advocates for better health policy and practice.Connelly recently succeeded in convincing her boss that bitcoin could be a valuable addition to their fundraising goals.It wasn’t easy. She had to overcome the organization’s fears of the unknown, not to mention bitcoin’s notorious volatility. Connelly had to come up with a better way of thinking about it, and finally, through her repeated efforts, she was able to convince Dignitas to accept bitcoin donations in the same way that it accepts stock donations. “It’s about sharing the knowledge about what we do in the Bitcoin community now”, she says, “and hopefully in the future there will be some more donations.” Donations help the foundation keep babies HIV-free, keep young people with HIV/AIDS on treatment and boost maternal health. All three of these women have been instrumental in raising awareness about bitcoin and the way it can have a positive impact on society – as well as the ways in which women are making a difference in the Bitcoin space.
Decentral Talk Live airs daily, Monday to Friday, at 3:00 pm EST on decentral.tv.
Christie Harkin is the contributions editor at Bitcoin Magazine.