Here’s a confession. I genuinely believed that those “women in tech/finance/web3” events are very patronising. As a matter of fact, 6 years ago, I was speaking at a women in tech event and saw how entitled women can be at these events. It repulsed me. But this autumn, I changed my perspectives with 2 events.
The first was devconnect. I travel to at least 12 countries annually and I’d have taken 60 flights by the end of 2023. It’s safe to say I travel extensively and more often than not, traveling alone. I enjoy it and appreciate it. I’ve been travelling alone since 2015 and always felt safe, even when I’m in SF. But this time in Istanbul at Devconnect, I felt really unsafe. Reports of harassment, constantly being bugged by people, scams everywhere, and I’ve heard of stories of molestation. I was on constant high alert every day and I hate it. At the conference, it’s mainly all guys. Crypto, tech and finance skew to males already, but it was stark in Istanbul. I suddenly understood the need for a space to allow women to just be. To give women the permission to stand up and be whoever the fuck they want to be and not be a meek housewife (nothing wrong with that) just because the patriarchal society says so. I have no intentions of going back to Istanbul any time soon, but I see the importance of having such events there. And I acknowledge that I’m privilege to be born in Singapore where I’ve never experienced sexism.
The second was YGG. Shout out to Leah for organising such an event. Usually a women’s event is patronising, and it’s the same topics just having women on the panels. I almost always avoided that. But in this panel that Leah organised, it’s about sharing vulnerability and sharing that what we do (whatever gender) is simply fucking hard. And it’s ok to admit that it’s fucking hard and we cry sometimes. And I think that’s the point, if any, of a women’s space. Sure safe space, support with opportunities bla-bla-bla. Keep doing that. But in my opinion, it’s about sharing vulnerabilities and finding strength through that. Women have a different form of strength than men. Idk if men need such support but I think that’s what support looks like for women. Why are there so few women at the top? Cause it’s really fucking hard. And it’s ok to admit that.
Men and women have their own strengths and weakness. It’s not to say one is better than the other. It’s not to negate one or are they mutually exclusive. I think there’s so much we can learn from each other and leverage our own strengths while complementing our weakness with other’s strengths. It’s really simple. No one is better than the other. That’s stupid.