When it comes to workplace gender equality, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg nails it: “Knowing that things may be worse should not stop us from trying to make them better.” While women’s access to opportunities, money, and assistance in the startup world has increased in recent decades, there is still a long way to go. In fact, despite performing better on average, women early-stage entrepreneurs earn $1 million less in investment than males.
Female-founded businesses should receive more venture capital and entrepreneurial support, according to leaders across the board, but few are taking concrete steps to address the gender gap.
The issue isn’t that women don’t want to start million-dollar firms; it’s that there’s a mismatch between our ambitions and the industry assistance we get — or don’t get. It’s critical to look into new ways of helping women’s entrepreneurship as the world adopts a new way of working and plans for a post-pandemic world. Here are some of the most important questions we need to ask – and how we can answer them.
Few business leaders will openly admit that a more gender-equal world is unappealing to them. The disparity between goal and outcome, on the other hand, shows that far too little decisive action has been made to make this the case.
Women entrepreneurs confront a variety of challenges. Even in my business, which is dominated by environmentally and socially concerned brands, female executives have it tougher than their male counterparts: According to the founders of the 2020 Vegan Women Summit, 45 percent of respondents have faced bias while fundraising and 75 percent have dealt with gender bias explicitly.
VCs have traditionally asked women different questions than men, and as a result, women are perceived as less ambitious and less focused on possible advantages.
Even before meeting female job applicants, decision-makers’ latent bias is already at work. By concealing the gender in the application, acceptance rates for female candidates increased from 18% to 30% in one study.
Women in technology frequently confront preconceptions and concerns about their family lives, marital status, and children, which CEOs and VCs may view as roadblocks to their advancement within the firm or a restriction to their potential as a founder.
To address these disparities, VCs and CEOs must make a determined effort to bring more women into decision-making positions. One approach to achieve this is to seek B Corporation certification, which requires the organization to work toward reducing workplace inequality.