At Festival Labs, we are launching an initiative to reverse the trend of gender disparity in the next wave of internet services. Our new program is called Bloom and the mission is to ensure blockchain, crypto, and other decentralized web (web3) communities have gender equity at their foundation. Bloom is a 5-week, virtual course designed to teach technical women and genderqueer individuals the skills needed to transition to web3 companies. The pilot program, Season 0, will run from August 14th to September 12th, 2021.
“Existing educational and career pipelines in tech create barriers as opposed to opportunities for women and genderqueer people,” says Val, founder of Festival Labs and a software engineer in the web3 ecosystem. Women and genderqueer people (“genderqueer” is an umbrella term for a person who does not subscribe to conventional gender distinctions) are vastly underrepresented in tech, and face a variety of challenges when striving to get equal access to educational and career opportunities in the industry.
The data backs it up
- In 1984, women made up 37% of computer science graduates in the United States. Today, that number has dropped to 20%.
- Carnegie Mellon University demonstrated that gender equity can be achieved by improving the culture of computer science, which increased the women in the major by 30% resulting in an equal number of women and men.
- Analysis done by the Boston Consulting Group in 2018 showed that diverse companies are more innovative, and gender diverse startups generate higher revenues.
“There is a high demand for web3 engineers who bring a diverse set of experiences,” Val continues. “This is a critical inflection point where there’s an opportunity to change the way services online are created and how people interact and engage with them, which is only possible if web3 reflects and supports everyone.”
The first of its kind
Unlike most of the educational programs that teach blockchain, crypto, and web3 skills, Bloom is designed specifically to support women and genderqueer individuals who already have a baseline of technical knowledge to further specialize and move into this emerging field.
Val, who has been writing code in the blockchain space for the past four years, wants Bloom to be a direct avenue for people in the program to make connections and get hired at partnering companies. “The ultimate goal is to prepare participants for interviews with these companies, while at the same time making invaluable social connections that will support them through their careers.”
Season 0 kicks off in August and is hopefully the first of many more seasons to come.