Breaking the bias: Are women absent on the Metaverse?
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day was Breaking the Bias, a theme that resonated strongly with me,” said Briar Prestidge, a serial entrepreneur and CEO of Prestidge Group, a personal branding, PR and speaker relations agency managing HNWI, C-level executives, technology experts, celebrities, government officials and investors.
“As a woman in business, I think my very existence as a Founder and CEO represents that challenge. In an ideal world, we wouldn’t even speak about “women” in business. Just like how we don’t speak about “men” in business. We are all just businesspeople. But unfortunately, there is still sufficient gender disparity that we need to set ourselves apart and acknowledge the very real challenges that are unique to the female experience.”
A metaverse for women too
Technology is now evolving at an exponential rate, and many are predicting that the ‘metaverse’ and Web3 will be the next phase of the internet. We don’t know yet exactly what it entails, just like how when Bill Gates described the concept of the internet in 1995 to David Letterman, he described it as “…a place where people can publish information. Companies and the latest information will be here.” We now know the internet evolved to become much, much more.
But we’re starting to form an idea of what our future in the metaverse could look like. It will likely reshape how we perceive society; it will impact businesses to the point where every industry will be pulled into digital currency. It will likely change how we socialize and meet; our physical worlds will become more intertwined with our virtual, and if we don’t embrace it, we will be left behind. Creating and building the metaverse, and its many components will be a big job so there is a slice of pie in there for everyone.
Women, in some cases, are reporting frustrations on VR platforms. They are describing feeling uncomfortable and unsafe, and in some cases, they report being the only female on the app or platform.
So that our future on these platforms is representative of real-world diversity, we, as women, need to show up and contribute to the build. When we are the architects of our own communities, we are able to build structures that cater to us and represent our real world needs. Participating now allows us to effectively advocate for ourselves so that women can enter the space safely.
Securing a place for women in tech
We need to be cognizant of the lack of representation in tech, and we need to get involved. Start small and listen to some metaverse podcasts so you can start to understand where we are headed. A study by Global Industry Analysts Inc., says the global market for metaverse is estimated to be worth 194.4 billion dollars in 2022 and is projected to reach 758.6 billion dollars by 2026. The metaverse is expanding rapidly and we don’t want to be left behind.
I would encourage my female peers to stay curious. As business leaders and founders who have already found some measure of success, we are now called upon to take our businesses into this new age. And it’s exciting. If we are adaptable and look for ways to involve ourselves in the latest tech, we become visible role models, and we position ourselves for success on a platform that seems set to dominate. I’ve long worked with young women as a career mentor, and I understand the impact of representation on our youth, and the value in exploring rather than dismissing trends. Let’s show up in the metaverse and stake a claim in these early stages.
At first, people may underestimate us. When I show up to VR events or tech expos, I can tell that I wasn’t always expected – I don’t necessarily cut the profile of a traditional ‘techie’- whatever that means. And I love that. When we women show up, in all of our glory, we take a seat at the table and demand an equal vote. We start to influence how online communities operate.
We can’t ask for a seat at the table if we didn’t show up to help build it. And just because you don’t currently understand it, it doesn’t mean it’s not happening. And the metaverse is happening fast.