Women’s Division goes to Pakistan
Blockchain technology holds great potential as a tool for individual empowerment and a vehicle for protection of marginalized people, and gaining access to good knowledge is a challenge. On 20th January 2018 the head of our women’s division, Anam Hijab, visited Karachi, Pakistan to teach a workshop in basic blockchain for Women-In-Tech Pakistan.
Empowerment through education
Helping women in Pakistan begin their blockchain journey serves several purposes and creates positive change in more than one way. Education in general is recognized widely as a primary vehicle for development, both on the individual level and across society. The Nordic Blockchain Association’s work with Pakistani women aims at empowering women through education. This allows them to be in the vanguard of developers and visionaries that will decide how this highly disruptive tech will be used in the future.
The course worked on two levels. First, it offered a general introduction to the blockchain space. Second, it identified aspects of blockchain technology, such as the ability to run an autonomous personal economy or safeguard one’s digital identity, which is relevant to women in a developing economy and in a male dominated social-system.
Understanding the world of cryptocurrencies offers women, without access to conventional banking, a fast and reliable way to conduct business online. This knowledge empowers women to become self-sufficient in society. It also carries the potential to streamline the world flow of remittances, making the process both more efficient and more transparent. Traditionally, money sent from the global north to the global south by migrant workers, who support families at home, is dispatched using slow bank transfers or the Western Union.
Creating and safeguarding digital identities is another valuable aspect of blockchain technology. The decentralized, transparent and secure nature of the technology makes it an excellent vehicle to combat identity theft. This is a major problem for women, who risk social marginalization in conservative cultures. Digital identities also have large potential benefits for forced migrants and refugees that end up in a “paperless-limbo” upon reaching their destinations without hard-ID.
Finally, understanding smart contracts is important for anyone learning about blockchain technology. In the long run, smart contracts could disrupt and improve legal structures and help to ensure fair treatment for all.
The Karachi workshop was held in collaboration with Women-In-Tech Pakistan. Nordic Blockchain Association’s women’s initiative is actively establishing blockchain-related networks for female professionals in Denmark as well.
The women’s division of the Nordic Blockchain Association is dedicated to promoting female participation in the blockchain eco-system and is nurturing gender diversity in the community. On 1st March 2018 we collaborated with Female Invest to educate women about blockchain technology and investment in cryptocurrencies. The event gained high traction and sold out in less than 24 hours.
If you would like to read a reportage from Anam Hijab’s workshop in Karachi, please visit Faiza Yousuf’s blog.
Faiza Yousuf is a Project Manager, Entrepreneur, and Researcher in Pakistan. She worked at OuttaBox and WomenInTechPK and has a Master’s degree in Computer and Information Technology.