Real-world issues like gender inequality are beginning to present themselves in the metaverse, according to a report by consulting firm McKinsey published Monday.
The report, which examines how “gender dynamics are playing out in the early-stage metaverse,” conducted a survey on metaverse habits in April in Western Europe and Northern Asia. Of the 1,928 respondents, 41% of women surveyed had used a “primary metaverse platform or participated in a digital world” for over a year, compared with only about 34% of men.
These women also reported spending longer periods of time on these platforms, with 35% of them logging more than three hours per week – a categorization the report calls “power users.” In contrast, only 29% of men devoted the same amount of time to metaverse usage.
In addition, more women appear to be spearheading metaverse initiatives than their male counterparts. In a survey of 448 female executives conducted by McKinsey across continents in April, 60% of women reported putting more than two metaverse initiatives into action compared to 50% of their male counterparts.
While more women are meaningfully interacting with these platforms, men in the industry continue to pull the strings.
Of metaverse companies that received higher shares of funding over the past five years, 90% were led by men, the report said. Of the $112 billion put towards funding metaverse companies within the same time frame, 95% of that money was put towards funding companies led by men.
“We found an already discernible gender gap in the metaverse, similar to the gap that exists in Fortune 500 companies and startups, where less than 10% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women,” the report’s authors, Mina Alaghband and Lareina Yee, write.
While the Web3 pillars of transparency, accessibility and equality have been applied across many metaverse projects, the foundations of these projects appear to be disproportionately built by men.
“The metaverse has the potential to bring profound change to the global economy, as well as to create new and more equitable opportunities for all who use it – which is why it is imperative for all key stakeholders to understand the dynamics at play,” Alaghband and Yee write. “To do so, industry stakeholders will need to engage a range of different voices and infuse diverse leadership into the companies and coalitions shaping the metaverse today.”
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