Between fluidity and continuous evolution, the metaverse is still in its infancy. Yet inequalities are already tangible, especially in terms of gender dynamics.
It turns out thatMcKinsey & Company’s latest reportpublished in late 2022 by an international management consulting firm and value creation within the immersive ecosystem.
The data speaks for themselves: women spend more time on platforms but just like in the real world, they occupy fewer leadership positions than men. The gap found follows what exists in real-world companies and is the same as that found among Fortune 500 startups (only 10% of CEOs are women).
According to the report, women spend more time on platforms than men and are more likely to lead and implement initiatives; however, it represents only a minority of the industry, as it already is in Web 2 – and the entire technological world in general. both venture capital and CEO roles are reserved for men. (totally disproportionate).
A look at the numbers
Let’s get to the numbers. There Research by Mina Alaghband and Lareina Yee It was made on 1928 people. The first truth to emerge 41% of women have been using the primary metaverse platform or participating in a digital world for over a year; male gender was included in this frequency in only 34% of the cases. Also, many spent a lot of time there: 35% of the interviewees are power users and spend more than three hours a week; for men, the same level of commitment is achieved in only 29% of cases.
Time spent by men and women in the metaverse. Source: McKinsey & Company, 2022 report.
Hybrid use cases
Women are more inclined to deal with hybrid use cases. As reported by the authors, actually:
“Using the digital world enables them to participate in activities such as gaming, fitness, education, live events and shopping using AR/VR technologies.”
Conversely, people used the metaverse mainly to engage in purely digital experiences such as gaming, NFT trading, and attending social events.
More startups, less funding
In the second part of the report, in a survey of approximately 450 female managers, 60% report implementing more than two metaverse-related initiatives in their organization. In addition, figures show that such managers are 20% more likely than their male counterparts to develop initiatives in marketing, learning, employee development and product design.
However, female leaders struggle to defend themselves within the metaverse. While women consumers and managers are more proactive in usage and initiatives than men, they remain excluded from economic leadership roles. Data collected by McKinsey over the past five years male-led firms received a higher share of total entrepreneurial funding received by female-led metaverse firms.
A reflection of the real world
What goes on in the virtual world is nothing but a reflection of the inequalities in the physical world: in the same organizations that shape the standards of the meta-universe, 90% of leadership roles are filled by men.
They are numerous, constantly growing, and focus on the standardization of interoperability standards and protocols – for example, the Metaverse Standards Forum and the Open Metaverse Alliance for Web3 (OMA3). However, even in this case, only 8-10% of cases are managed by female managers.
As reported by Alaghband and Yee:
“We found that a gender gap similar to that found in Fortune 500 companies and start-ups, where less than 10% of CEOs are women, is already apparent.”
Transparency, visibility and equality
The Metaverse undoubtedly has the potential to bring profound changes and create fairer opportunities in the global economy. However, it is precisely for these reasons that it is important for key stakeholders to immediately understand the power dynamics currently in place and quickly address the growing gender gap.
According to the reported indicators, women may already represent a very strong user base in the virtual worldand this requires raising awareness as soon as possible about the gender gap in leadership roles (especially at a time when Web 3 is still in the primary transformation phase).
For this to work well, industry stakeholders must involve a wide range of voices and Diverse leadership in companies and coalitions shaping the immersive ecosystem. Indeed, if it is true that the pillars of the crypto world are transparency, accessibility and equality, they will need to be implemented and this practice should be proportionate to both genders.