ArtTactic, the research firm, published a report where they found out that female NFT artists only made 5% of all Nifty Gateway’s NFT sales during the past 21 months.

The NFT space generated a trading volume of over $10.67 billion in 3Q 2021 alone, and with such a remarkable growth ArtTactic’s report set off many alarms.

Anders Petterson, the founder of ArtTactic, started the report by saying: “Before we throw ourselves into the metaverse, it might be a good idea to stop and ask ourselves what we want this digital universe to look like, before we repeat our mistakes from the past.”

Source: ArtTactic

Grimes is the only female artist to make it to the top-10 NFT sales list with $8.9 million in sales. The next one ranked below the top-10 is Jo-Ani Charland in 50th place with a total of $1.6 million in sales.

Many have talked about the potential for diversity in the NFT ecosystem and the technology itself indeed opens horizons for many, but can the individuals that manage it do the same?

As this generation is more amicable than any has ever been to women in power, men still control the majority of the money, they control the markets: who buys the most, who sells the most.

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Know The Artworld Market: What Will Be NFTs’ Take?

The National Museum Of Women In Arts shares on its website many facts on gender inequity in the arts reported by different surveys and studies all over the world, and it is not a pretty landscape:

  • “There are no women in the top 0.03% of the auction market, where 41% of the profit is concentrated. Overall, 96% of artworks sold at auction are by male artists.” Bocart et al., “Glass Ceilings in the Art Market”
  • “The NEA found that as women artists age, they earn progressively less than their male artist counterparts. Women artists aged 55–64 earn only 66¢ for each $1 earned by men.” National Endowment for the Arts
  • “In the U.K., 64% of undergraduates and 65% of postgraduates in creative arts and design are women, but 68% of the artists represented at top London commercial galleries are men.” Freelands Foundation

Is It A Matter Of Risk-taking?

A 2021 GFLEC survey reports that “women are less financially literate than men”, “but they know more than they think they know.” The study claims this “can be explained by women’s lower confidence levels”.

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Some have expressed that it is a matter of taking risks being characteristic of masculinity, but risk-taking is not a one-dimensional personality trait, meaning that any person could take risks while making certain decisions, then take no risks for others. So, what creates the gender gap in financial risks and the technological world?

As humans, we tend to avoid what we see as a high risk. Women will naturally avoid the spaces that seem riskier to them than they do to men. Cordelia Fine, an associate professor at the University of Melbourne, researched multiple views on the risk-taking subject and quoted a study by James Flynn and colleagues that suggest an important remark:

Perhaps white males see less risk in the world because they create, manage, control, and benefit from so much of it. Perhaps women and non-white men see the world as more dangerous because in many ways they are more vulnerable, because they benefit less from many of its technologies and institutions, and because they have less power and control,

In a research paper written by Gianni Brighetti and Caterina Lucarelli they state that:

Our findings support that there is no “biological” reason that induces women to be risk-averse, or in general to refuse uncertainty. (…) Nevertheless, (…) our paper asserts that a cultural bias induces women to believe themselves as risk averter, on the one hand, and men to believe themselves as risk lovers; even if the both, facing a risky task, behave the same.

A Harvard University legal scholar Cass Sunstein, also quoted by Fine, goes through what lays behind choices: “aspirations, tastes, physical states, responses to existing roles and norms, values, judgments, emotions, drives, beliefs, whims.”

Is it evolutionary or is it cultural? Saying that it is an “evolutionary” trait sounds like there is nowhere around it. Calling it “cultural” or understanding the psyche behind it implies a possibility of change and a systematic reason behind it.

Women do not exist to “ensure” reproduction as if they were less human or had less consciousness than men. The inherited traits that resulted from a man’s world are there, but no longer needed to survive them. 

If there is something women should “avoid” is further inheriting the so-called “lack of confidence” behind gender disparities in the tech and financial world. Hopefully, the alarming report will result in more female artists finding their way into the NFT ecosystem.