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Three out of four women are aware of the metaverse, yet only 30% know how to actually use it, according to a leading 2022 research study entitled 'What Women Want in Web3" by The Female Quotient and EWG Unlimited. The report also revealed that while female consumer interest in the metaverse is growing by a staggering 15% month-over-month, metaverse experiences are still predominantly geared towards male interests, with men leading dramatically in terms of creation and purchasing in the space.
The future of the metaverse and Web3 must be equitable for all, which means making the most of this nascent stage of development and ensuring women influence the space not only as creators but also as leaders. Here are five ways we can achieve this.
Accessibility is key
The metaverse and Web3 can appear intimidating: their decentralized foundations and the rhetoric frequently used within the community aren't easily understood by the wider world. These barriers to access lead to a hesitancy amongst women to get involved. The 2022 report statistics reflect this: just 14% have accessed a metaverse platform like Roblox or Decentraland and 62% of females say they do not understand NFTs.
To tackle this Web3 leaders must focus on education. Upskilling women by providing tools and resources on key Web3 topics such as NFTs and cryptocurrency through events, podcasts, social media, and community-building can all help to achieve this goal.
Another way to lower the barriers to entry and encourage participation is by making the metaverse a fun, engaging space to be in. This was an important element in the formation of our design and own game Fashion League: the first female-centered Fashion RPG on the blockchain. We removed the daunting aspect of Web3 for newbies: to get involved, all players need to do is simply spend time playing a game they love. And unlike traditional games, power is in the hands of all gamers, not just a select few. Players can collaborate to build an incredible community while earning and developing their metaverse skills: from earning passive income through sales tax revenue on Fashion League land to converting in-game NFTs to tokens, participating in fashion events, and much more.
Prioritize NFTs as a gateway to entry
Women-centered Web3 groups have primarily focused on NFTs, and for a good reason: NFTs are far more accessible, easier to understand and less abstract than other Web3 concepts. They also provide an excellent gateway for non-native Web3 brands keen to dip their toes into the metaverse and are considering a female-focused strategy.
For women keen to learn more about NFTs and their role in the metaverse, I strongly recommend actively engaging in conversations on Twitter, Telegram and Discord too. As the hub of all Web3-related discussions, Twitter is key as it is the best place to get started given that the vibrant metaverse community is active 24/7.
Impressive aesthetics were revealed in The Female Quotient report to be an integral factor in retaining women's interest in the metaverse: one in four cited it as their main reason to keep returning.
Unfortunately, due to a lack of female representation in Web3, there has been an inherent male bias in metaverse aesthetics. But with women making 85% of all purchasing decisions outside of Web3, it's crucial for brands to seriously consider visuals and create experiences relevant to women and what they would like to actually participate in.
This is something we took on board for Fashion League: our game is developed by a female-led team of gaming, blockchain, design, and community experts, ensuring we create a game that truly caters to our female audience. And with our DAO-focused governance, we work together with our community to make sure our female players get a say on the game's direction and future, including content and any optimization changes.
Improving representation is absolutely essential, as having more female-focused leaders, communities and organizations mean projects can better anticipate women's needs and desires in the metaverse and thus incentive engagement.
Connection will encourage action
The Female Quotient study also shows that connection is an important factor for involvement: 43% of women are ready to get involved with the metaverse providing that they are given an opportunity to connect and socialize.
Projects can achieve this by heavily focusing their metaverse efforts on building interpersonal connections in their community-building strategy — after all, community is at the core of Web3's decentralized foundations. Influential community voices can certainly incentivize engagement and encourage more women to connect to the metaverse in an authentic way.
Merge digital and physical
To onboard more women into the metaverse, we need to meet them where they are currently at offline to best demonstrate Web3's real-life utility. The fashion sector is a particularly strong entry point when it comes to merging the physical and digital realms. Take for example the number of high-profile names at Metaverse Fashion Week on Decentraland this year like Dolce & Gabbana and Tommy Hilfiger, or Tiffany & Co's recent entry into the Web3 space with the sale of 250 diamond and gemstone encrusted pendants for CryptoPunk holders. It's a burgeoning sector: a recent study from Technavio shows that the fashion metaverse market share is expected to skyrocket to more than $6.61 billion in 2026, showing its boundary-breaking capabilities.
Addressing the areas of concern that prevent more women from onboarding into the world of Web3 is of paramount importance if we are to create a truly inclusive environment that leaves behind the centralized, limiting foundations of Web2.
Believer in co-creation, Web 3.0, NFT, NFT Gaming. Follow Theresia on LinkedIn
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