Female Technophobia: It’s a Myth

Region: Europe
Feb 8, 2021, 9:59:56 AM Published By Lottie Wells

Technophobia. An actual term given to people with fear and anxiety about using technology, and frequently associated with women. But is this true?

There’s a common held belief that women in tech are few and far between, although many people ask the question why. You might remember our ‘Women in Crypto’ campaign that we undertook in partnership with The Fintech Times last year; this was solely focussed on promoting women in the crypto space and encouraging them to both work in and use crypto.

A hot discussion topic as of late is how we’re edging closer to the mainstream adoption of crypto, a long-term goal of us at Wirex who are trying to simplify the often confusing and inaccessible world of blockchain, but, as Kai Sedgwick of Bitcoin.com said:

“bitcoin can hardly be labeled a global payment and wealth storage system if it excludes half of the population [ - women].”

Our survey with Stellar debunks many of these myths, and shows that female crypto-holders are actually catching up.

Myth 1: Women don’t use cryptocurrency

Ask your average person what a ‘crypto-holder’ looks like. More than likely, they’ll answer that it’s a young, white, middle-class male based in Europe or the US.

It’s easy to believe that having an aptitude for technology is something you’re born with, and thus could be affected by gender. Despite gender stereotypes, the ability to use tech is based on learning these skills, meaning any woman or man can just as easily dive into the sometimes complex world of blockchain.

Our survey showed that there was only a marginal difference in the number of men and women that hold crypto, with 70.3% of our female respondents saying they did. When we compare this to a Bitcoin.com survey in 2017 that estimates only 4% of global bitcoin users to be female, it’s clear that the gender gap is closing.

Armed with the notion that women are just as capable of becoming a tech-consumer, they’re ready to battle technology, and specifically crypto, head-on. A lack of knowledge and low confidence has held women back previously, but our survey showed that a staggering 82% of women had heard of crypto, which I’m sure has been growing given the recent mainstream media’s interest in BTC’s new all-time high. An increase in readily available information on the internet about digital currencies is an easy way to prepare those women curious to realise the benefits of crypto, and quick and easy access to buy, hold, exchange and sell crypto from Wirex’s single, intuitive app, makes this much more appealing.

In fact, women are probably spurred on by the fact that some reports suggest that they’re even better than men at trading, whether that be crypto or stocks, based on women’s innate behaviour. A study by Financial Skills in 2015 suggests that men are much more likely to undertake riskier investments in the hope of bigger rewards, which in general, lead to lower profits, and will often make fewer investments overall, making it less likely they will gamble and make a loss (the gambler’s fallacy). Owing to crypto’s volatility, this means that women are much more likely to perform better than men in crypto trading.

Myth 2: Women feel unsafe in the crypto space

A certain level of technological knowledge was previously required to use crypto in the early days, leading to many negative stories that are still commonly associated with the currency, including lost private keys, coins sent to incorrect addresses, and hacking attempts.

However, technological advancements that make it more accessible, logical and empathetic towards users decrease the likelihood of negative experiences with it, and reduce the fear and anxiety that many women may have. Our survey shows that 80.4% of women feel secure using cryptocurrency, which owes a lot to this increased focus on design improvements that make it simple to navigate the world of crypto.

An increase in the number of trusted companies operating in the crypto space have promoted this feeling of safety. International bodies and organisations are increasingly recognising crypto as a legitimate form of currency. You’ve probably seen the likes of Paypal and Facebook associating themselves with it, whilst back in July, Wirex announced that it was the first crypto company in the world to become a principal membership, an invaluable recognition that crypto can be safe and secure.

At Wirex, we’ve developed an industry-leading app that puts our users first; we focussed heavily on design to create a seamless experience of managing crypto which would build user’s confidence and reassure them that their money is safe with us. In fact, last year, we were awarded 2nd place in the CX Asia Digital Challenge for ‘Best Use of Mobile’ based on user experience.

Aside from this, word-of-mouth and a sense of community has always been pivotal to the development of crypto and the value given to it, given its privacy and decentralisation. Therefore, female advocates, role-models and peers are important in showing to other women that this can be a safe and trusted space. Wirex’s Community Forum, managed by Wirex employees, has been a pivot point of contact in ensuring customers get all the help and advice they need, building long-lasting relationships.

Myth 3: Older women are unlikely to use crypto

Although it would be expected that millennials and the younger generations, who tend to be more tech-savvy, would be much more likely to use crypto given the reasons already outlined, our survey suggests that the older generations are catching up too.

A survey in 2019 showed that 91% of American’s aged 50 and above reported having a computer, meaning it’s no surprise that the older generation are just as likely to hold crypto too. Our survey showed that an incredible 26.1% of women aged 55-64 invested in crypto compared to only 14.3% of men in the same age bracket. Incredibly, 65.7% of female respondents that did own digital assets were over 45.

Aside from this, people over 50 have more disposable income than other age groups, meaning they may be more likely to invest in alternative financial products such as crypto. An increase in educational resources that break down the complicated world of crypto are vital in this adoption, which is why Wirex frequently develops ‘how-to’ articles on their website and social media that make crypto easier than ever to understand.

It’s been shown that women will be more likely to use tech when products are built that add value to their lives, and for older people, simple products that help them manage their finances and save money, including that of crypto, are important. Wirex’s upcoming X-Accounts that help users save money in various ‘pots’, and X-Tras rewards programme make it easy to get up to 2% Cryptoback(™) rewards in bitcoin for every purchase made using their Wirex card, will make our product and crypto all the more enticing for this age group.

All the factors mentioned above and a recent surge in interest in crypto generally suggest that this is just the beginning for women’s steps into the digital economy. A growth in products such as Wirex making crypto all the easier to access means that we can’t wait to watch their adoption flourish as it becomes ever more mainstream.

To read the full report, click here.