Saudi Women and the Blockchain: Technology for Social Impact

Saudi Arabia is transforming socially and economically.  Recently the ban on women driving was left among several other initiatives to encourage women direct participation in the transformation of the country.

Globally, the percentage of women involved in Blockchain and cryptocurrency is far lower than that of men. Some researchers blamed it on the natural difference between men and women in decision making in stressful situations.

However at Ateon, the first Blockchain solutions provider in Saudi Arabia, Dr. Husam Yaghi wanted the team to distinguish itself by challenging the status quo.  They wanted to be known for taking bold decisions, one fearless choice at a time, one brave decision at a time, one courageous action at a time.

The first brave decision was to focus on Blockchain back in 2016 for the digital transformation solutions it offered; when majority of clients thought Blockchain and Bitcoin were one. Then Dr. Yaghi hired brave women to join his aggressive team.  They held roadshows and workshops to create awareness and educating the local market.  Their marketing manager, Reham Baseddiq, knew nothing about Blockchain before joining, but she believed in the team and the vision of its leader.  Shortly, she became an advocate for the technology.

Every challenge involves confronting the status quo. This precept meant the team had to test the unproven, dive deep in the unspoken, and challenge the unchallenged.

Blockchain is a technology, a platform, on top of which applications are developed and deployed.  Therefore no company could have a reseller or distribution agreement for a Blockchain, because nobody owns the Blockchain, just like the Internet.

Unfortunately, the Blockchain community is currently anti-feminist and it has a long way to go when it comes to gender diversity.  Some suggest that women are the one to blame as don’t promote themselves sufficiently.  That could be true, but what about the structural barriers which would make it much harder for women investors, entrepreneurs and innovators to get their stories out and to be noticed?

It is a fact that the Blockchain industry is male-dominated.  Just go to any conference, pick up a related magazine, or visit related website and you could easily count female contributors.

In Saudi Arabia, Reham Baseddiq and her female colleagues at the company convinced professors at King Abdulaziz University and Effat University to send some of their female students to get hands on training with the Ateon team during the summer.

Another great example is the team behind the FintechSaudi initiative and we wish to see a lot more soon.  Women for sure will have an integral role in the digital transformation journey of Saudi Arabia.

By: Husam Yaghi