You’ve probably heard of Bitcoin. You may have even heard of the technology behind the cryptocurrency: blockchain.
What you may not know is that blockchain and digital cryptocurrencies are helping women in developing countries transform their lives.
By breaking down traditional social and economic gender barriers, blockchain technology is empowering women to participate in their nations growing economies.
What is the Blockchain?
The blockchain is a digital ledger in which transactions are made and recorded chronologically and publicly. These time-stamped blocks cannot be modified and are spread across a global network of computers.
Blockchain technology can do far more than power cryptocurrencies including contracts, personal records, payments and helping to empower women in humanitarian crises – aiding to drive women’s economic empowerment.
With 70% of the world’s population lacking access to land titles, with women suffering more than men from insecure land rights, owning less than 20% of the world’s land.
In the majority of countries, women’s land rights are impeded by inadequate enforcement of land laws, and patriarchal power structures that govern many households and communities.
By storing contracts in a blockchain ledger, women can protect their property ownership, given the technology’s ability to reject falsifying of documents.
Thus, it is impossible to forge documents as the blockchain network verifies each transaction without being modified surreptitiously. Therefore, no government official nor male relative could oppose a piece of property belonging to a woman if the contracts are inserted into a blockchain ledger.
Personal & Official Records
Blockchain’s capacity to file personal records in a safe and cost-efficient provides women with digital IDs, which regularly occurs in the developing world according to the World Bank.
Lacking an official identity, whether because they lack a birth certificate or male relatives keep their IDs, inhibits women from opening bank accounts, owning land, taking advantage of job opportunities; hampering their ability to engage in economic and social mobility.
Payments & Fees
Not only do blockchain ledgers provide a secure and pain-free way to complete and store financial transactions, but they typically can be performed for free.
Blockchain and cryptocurrencies function without a third-party intermediary like a bank, thus removing the ‘middle man’ in completing financial affairs. Instead, blockchain technology is built on peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions.
By using blockchain technology, barriers to women making both personal and business financial transactions are removed because typically, women are unable to afford banking maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements.
With 42% of women globally not able to access banking services, blockchain emancipates women’s ability to conduct financial transactions.
Careers in Technology
The more women are utilising blockchain and cryptocurrencies for personal and business transactions, the more interest in digital technology per se. This interest facilitates women to not only transact in the blockchain but become involved in newer business ventures.
Technology has made it feasible for women to work from remote locations on flexible working conditions; thus, reducing childcare costs yet remaining productive and profitable.
With more women involved in jobs based on blockchain technology has not only benefited women – but created new markets, boosting innovation and economic growth.
Blockchain can’t alter laws, nor can it reconstruct societal norms within traditional male-female power relationships.
However, what blockchain can do is become a powerful transformative tool for heightening women’s economic possibilities in communities where they have rights but require the infrastructure to realise them.