IT has always had an imbalance in terms of the number of women working in the industry. So when given the opportunity to build a whole new world, you might expect the gender imbalance problem to be solved quite early on.

Women in the metaverse

The metaverse is the next major evolution of the internet. Built around immersive virtual reality worlds, the metaverse is expected to become the primary source of entertainment for humans – and to create whole new ways of buying and selling online. Over time, the metaverse will blur the boundaries between online and offline worlds, allowing each to interact for the first time ever.

Given that the metaverse is supposed to change the world (for the better), you may have expected issues like the gender gap to be a top priority. But if anything, the metaverse may actually have made things worse.

According to research published by McKinsey & Co, just 10% of metaverse funding and investment is directed towards companies headed by women. What makes this figure even more shocking is the fact that (at the moment) women are actually more likely to be engaged with metaverse than men.

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60% of women report they have implemented more than two metaverse-related initiatives in their organizations, and they are 20% more likely than men to implement multiple metaverse initiatives. It seems as though women may understand the potential of metaverse better than men – even if they are less likely to attract funding.

Women in IT

As always, the problem seems to be down to a lack of women working in IT. There are signs that this disparity is being addressed – women now account for 53% of all STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) degrees across the world. On a more local level, the picture is very different – only 34% of STEM degrees are awarded to women in the EU.

This has a knock-on effect in the IT industry where just 17% of major technology jobs (programmer, systems analyst, software developer etc) are held by women. With so few women choosing information technology as a career, it is little surprise to see them underrepresented in the metaverse.

The good news is that if the metaverse continues to grow as expected, more and more people will begin working in that field. Particularly as more and more of our day-to-day activities are expected to take place in this new virtual world. It may take some time for the metaverse to fully correct the current gender imbalance, particularly as the concept remains quite new. However, there is still a very good opportunity for women to stake their claim on the future – and their place in the metaverse.