Change approach to reach women in Bitcoin

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This is an opinion piece by Tali Lindberg, co-founder of Free Market Kids, a company focused on financial literacy and Bitcoin education.

Note from the author: This article is politically incorrect because I will be making generalizations about men and women. If you are easily offended, you may want to stop reading.

When I first joined the Bitcoin community, I met a woman who asked me if I was interested in starting a Bitcoin meetup for women.

“I wish there was one,” she said.

Initially, I was offended by the idea.

“Bitcoin is already a small community, why do we need to separate men and women?” I thought.

However, my views have since changed.

Source: Author

After attending many Bitcoin events across different cities and states, I’ve noticed that women are always outnumbered by men, sometimes by as much as 80% to 90%. This is a problem.

Women have the power to shape the future leaders of this world through their intimate bonds with their children. A baby born this year may grow up in a world where fiat currency no longer exists and Bitcoin is the global digital currency. However, this timeline cannot be realized without the support of more women.

In this article, I will share my observations and make recommendations on how to effectively introduce Bitcoin to more women.

Facts Vs. Stories

If you were to ask my husband about the state of the economy, he would immediately provide you with facts on how our market is not free, how the government chooses winners and losers, and how zombie companies and malinvestment are issues. He would also talk about the Federal Reserve inflating the money supply and how the chairman manipulates the interest rate, among other things.

However, if you were to ask me the same question, I would tell you about some elderly neighbors and a recent conversation I had with a retired grandmother. We talked about the challenges of protecting our chickens from predators and growing a garden, even though neither of us was passionate about farming. We also discussed how prices were going up and how raising chickens and growing gardens were our ways of hedging against crazy price increases at the grocery store. I would then tell you that she and her husband are on a fixed income and how she worries that, with the way things are going, one day soon she won’t be able to buy enough groceries to keep from going hungry.

Source: Author

To me, this is what the “state of our economy” means: the people’s stories. Even in the presence of friendly, welcoming and encouraging men, I still feel pressured to cut out details and “get to the point.” On the other hand, in the presence of women, telling people’s stories feels natural and easy because that’s the way many women communicate about important topics.

This is one of the main differences between men and women: men typically focus on the facts, while women tell stories.

Cigars And Whisky Vs. Tea And Biscuits

My husband and I have been trying to bring Bitcoin education to homeschoolers. In all of our conversations, we’ve found that 90% of the women say the same thing, “I don’t understand Bitcoin, I don’t think I can figure it out. My husband handles the finances and investment decisions.”

Why do women, who are just as educated and intelligent as their spouses, leave the responsibility of understanding Bitcoin solely to men? Could it be because Bitcoin educational materials and learning environments tend to cater more towards the way men communicate?

Maybe we need a women-to-women approach. I’m not saying that women can’t understand technical and factual information in the same way that men do. Both genders are equally capable. However, in our pursuit of equality, we must not forget that men and women differ not only biologically but also in the way they perceive and interact with the world.

When men gather, they often exchange quick pleasantries and get down to business. At the end of such a meeting, everyone feels satisfied. Most women, however, would not feel satisfied in the same scenario. We need to visit first, ask about each other’s weeks, how the kids are doing, and any challenges we’ve faced during the week. We exchange stories and empathize to show that we care. To quote the famed sales guru Zig Ziglar, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Are we not all salespeople trying to sell the idea of Bitcoin? Maybe we can take a page out of Ziglar’s book.

Why Vs. What

When I first tried to read up on Bitcoin because of my husband’s insistence, I found it incredibly frustrating. There are countless books, podcasts, and YouTube videos explaining Bitcoin. However, until I understood why Bitcoin was important to me personally, I would have preferred to do something else with my free time.

Charts, graphs, and angry rants about the political landscape or the corrupt system wouldn’t convince me. Although these issues bother me, I mostly consider them things that I can’t do anything about. My schedule is already full of more things to do than I have time for. However, if you tell me a human story about someone facing hardship and difficult consequences due to the faults of our monetary system, then my anger at the injustice would motivate me to do the necessary research and learn about how Bitcoin is an alternative currency, not just a risky speculation or possibly a wild gamble.

To reach women en masse, we need to focus on telling good stories about the “why” of Bitcoin.

I’m not suggesting that men and women Bitcoiners can’t benefit from the same meetups or educational materials. Our society is currently obsessed with labeling everyone with some obscure name that separates them from each other. I don’t want to play that game. I’m suggesting that if we are mindful of the audience we are trying to reach, perhaps we could craft our message differently to get our point across more successfully.

Here’s an example of how women perceive men talking about the why of Bitcoin – my niece drew the following comic strip to highlight what she had learned after listening to a Bitcoin podcast:

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I wonder how different the comic strip would have looked if two women had done the podcast, even if they had discussed exactly the same topics and come to the same conclusions as the hosts of the podcast that my niece listened to.

Here are some suggestions based on my personal experiences in reaching precoiner women:

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One: Anger Mama Bear!

Tell personal stories to share the why of Bitcoin. Following the story I shared earlier in this article about elderly retirees, most people would feel sympathetic toward them having to work in the hot sun day after day to grow their own food. But if you explained to a young mother who is lovingly and protectively cradling her newborn baby against her chest that the impending hyperinflation means her child would grow up to be in the same situation, having to literally labor in the field for food, you will have incited the most powerful force on earth: a mother’s instinct to protect her young. Now you’ll have a motivated individual who is ready to do whatever it takes to learn about this crazy thing called Bitcoin.

Two: Host Women’s Events

Remember the book “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus”?

We should embrace our differences. Being different is good, just as specialization is a positive force in truly free markets. Marketing a new and mysterious idea like Bitcoin can only be effective with customized messaging and delivery methods to reach different target audiences.

Recognize that women and men socialize differently and feel comfortable in different environments. When women talk to women, we have more freedom to express ourselves with an ease that is not as readily available in a co-ed gathering. This is not to say that men and women cannot speak to one another, but simply that certain conversations can feel more comfortable woman to woman.

Three: Less Is More

Don’t overwhelm women who are new to Bitcoin with facts, charts, and numbers. You can’t “logic” women into Bitcoin. You have to emotionally persuade women into Bitcoin. Ask questions about their lives and concerns and let them have enough time to fully share.

Talking less is actually more persuasive than talking more. Allow the conversation to naturally develop to the point where they ask the first questions. That’s when you know the floor is yours. Share information in small bits and keep a low-time-preference mentality.

I hope this article helps male Bitcoiners communicate more effectively with women and reaches women Bitcoiners who are willing to work together to reach other women in a way that only we can: woman to woman.

This is a guest post by Tali Lindberg. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.

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