Let’s Be Real About The Lack Of Women In Tech

rachel sklar

Last night at Rachel Sklar’s third gathering for Change The Ratio, Fred Wilson, a well-known VC and blogger, debated the issue to a packed house.

If you haven’t been reading up, women are concerned about the lack of female entrepreneurs.  Men have been fighting back, telling us to just shut up and start companies

And a lot of women agree with them, especially ones that are already successful.  They think, “If I made it, then these other women can too.” In summary, less whining, more doing.

Either way, the gender gap is real. Women make up more than half of the US population, but only 5% of all founders are female.

So where are the women? Does entrepreneurship not interest us?  Hardly. Women, like men, just want to be rich.  And a lot of us would like to make the money ourselves.  The idea of owning a company and making the rules sounds pretty good to just about anyone who has had to work for someone else.

1. A lack of role models

2. Women need mentors, but women don't always mentor other women

3. Women like to talk

We're stereotyped as complainers. And you know what? If we complain enough, men usually get tired of hearing it and give us what we want.

The entire time Rachel spoke, I was conflicted. I realised she was trying to make a positive impact, to stand up for women and talk about something real. The problem was, she was talking about it.

Talking about the lack of women isn't some investigative story that needs to be broken. Everyone is aware of the skew. What separates entrepreneurs from everyone else, not just from women, is that they execute their ideas; they don't just talk about them.

4. Women have timers

5. Women are averse to risk

Women, by nature, are more calculated than men, which can inhibit them from taking the entrepreneurial plunge.

TechCrunch's Michael Arrington referenced a conversation with Cyan Banister, co-founder of Zivity: 'Women are nurturing and not risk-taking enough by nature...When men roll the dice and take risks, society doesn't punish them at all, and it's in their nature to take stupid risks.'

While this quality benefits women in many ways, it can keep them from becoming entrepreneurs.

6. VCs are mostly white, arrogant males

And that comes straight from Wilson, who says on any given day, he could be categorized as one too. VCs invest in what they know-- and what they don't know is women.

Founders tend to start companies based on topics that interest them. The problem is, a lot of what interests women doesn't interest male investors.

'If the tech industry is going to be dominated by men, then we're going to get services that target that crowd,' says Wilson.

'Let's take the fashion sector for example. It's a hard sector for me to evaluate.' Wilson says he wears the same outfit every day. He elaborates, saying he doesn't know where the value in the fashion industry lies - is it in manufacturing, distribution or retail? And if you don't know where the value in an industry is, then how can you make an investment?

'It's a challenge for us as investors. I definitely think that makes it hard for women entrepreneurs who are passionate about sectors that are difficult for men like me to evaluate.'

7. Entrepreneurship was never cool – until now

Have you REALLY tried to start a company?

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