Sunita Sunchakar, an engineer and operations manager for the ‘Monero Talk’ YouTube show was recently interviewed by Monica Mizzi to discuss the blockchain industry and women’s involvement in it.
Sunchakar shared her positive experiences of working in the industry and actively encourages women who are interested in getting involved to “go for it” as this is how you overcome barriers.
Statistics do show there is a large gap between the number of men and women participating in the industry. However, is constantly highlighting statistics like this the best approach or is it putting too much emphasis on the negative?
Sunchakar’s Experience in the Blockchain Space
Sunchakar was introduced to Bitcoin in 2015 by a friend and found it interesting and confusing at the same time.
She realized the amazing potential of the technology as she began to understand it. She sees the technology as a way of bringing balance to a society controlled by the few and powerful.
“Most of us don’t realize that we do not have control of our daily lives, that many key items are controlled by other people and that there is no way around it. I believe this ‘Cryptocurrency Revolution’ came out of necessity to try and take back power by being censorship resistant.”
She believes that blockchain technology can be used to avoid data breaches and reduce banks’ control of everyday transactions. Sunchakar was involved with Monero in late 2016 and “realized that Monero was not like any of the others [altcoins].” She is working with several Monero enthusiasts to organize Monero meetups.
She was attracted to Monero because:
“it has all the parameters that Bitcoin is trying to achieve: it is private, untraceable, and fungible. These are the perfect qualities of a cryptocurrency created to promote its goal of decentralization and that could potentially be used as a peer-to-peer digital currency.”
She also likes the fact Monero’s growth is not largely driven by aggressive marketing.
Women in Crypto
Sunchakar has not experienced any disadvantages from being a female in the industry and says that “it has been welcoming and great so far.” The environment is conducive for anyone to contribute no matter the gender.
“At the end of the day, it has to do with what skills and ideas you bring to the table, and if it has a positive impact on the project, it will get recognized.”
She says that the push to get women involved in crypto tends to achieve the opposite. The best way to go about it is to have a collaborative approach from both men and women.
She is not sure why participation from women is relatively lower but it could be because of a number of reasons. Some women may be less vocal, others prefer to be anonymous, and others may not be getting enough attention from the media.
She agrees with women who don’t want to be labeled as “women in blockchain.” She says that there is a “need to focus and write about the accomplishments of women rather than knit-pick on the gender gap.” This is an industry where people are recognized based on the merits of their contributions.
She believes discussions should not be centered mainly on gender inequality but finding women who are doing great work behind the scenes and getting their work exposed to the public. She says that the Monero community doesn’t discriminate – it supports feasible ideas.
“Of course, you will be exposed to trolls and sexism (that happens in every environment), but that has to do with that individual’s insecure character and shouldn’t be a generalization of all men,” said Sunchakar as she pointed out that some issues are the same everywhere.
Her advice to other women who want to get into crypto is simple and practical:
“Just do it! The information out there can be extremely overwhelming, but if you take the time, you will eventually understand it. In this space, you feel like there is a never ending amount of information that you will never catch up with, but that is how everyone feels so don’t ever feel discouraged!”