For one of the most famous women in finance, it’s been a “downer” moving from banking, where gender diversity is bad enough, to the even greater lack of female representation in blockchain.
“It’s somewhat disappointing, after spending the better part of three decades in the financial services sector, to move to a new sector in technology and find things are even worse there,” Blythe Masters, the chief executive officer of Digital Asset Holdings LLC, said Tuesday at a Futures Industry Association conference in Boca Raton, Florida.
Since leaving a top role at JPMorgan Chase & Co. — where she worked for 27 years, became a managing director at 28, and ascended to head of global commodities — Masters has run a blockchain startup trying to embed distributed ledger technology into the fabric of the financial industry.
She’s a rarity. Researcher Coin Dance estimates women make up as little as 5 percent of people engaged in blockchain-powered cryptocurrencies. Women are the majority of the U.S. workforce at many of the biggest banks, though that percentage drops to less than a quarter among executives at the firms.
What’s needed to turn things around? Better mentoring and a stronger pipeline of women in science and engineering, Masters said.