We all know that women are vastly underrepresented in the tech industry.
We’ve seen some encouraging signs lately that this is changing, with more women enrolling in a prominent computer science university, a high-level VC saying he’s backing more women startups, and lists of women engineers having fabulous careers.
But here’s a sad stat that’s makes all those signs look like peanuts.
In 2013, money for startups was overwhelmingly going to male founders. LinkedIn recently analysed 1,200 technology entrepreneurs who raised venture capital in 2013.
86.5% were men. 13.5% were women.
This is sad for a bunch of reasons. First, it shows that women are even more shamefully under-represented as startup leaders than they are in the big successful tech companies like LinkedIn, Facebook and Google.
Many big tech companies released diversity numbers this summer that showed between a quarter and a third of their employees are women. That’s still kind of sad, given that women make up half the population and the tech industry makes up one of the fastest-growing, highest paying job fields around.
But 13% is far less than that.
It’s all part of a harsh cycle. Fewer female-founded startups means fewer women who have big exists. That means fewer women doing multiple startups, or angel investing or becoming VCs and just plain being role models.
While the tech industry is loaded with fair-minded men, when women are a rarity in the workplace it’s acts like a petri dish for sexist behaviour.
That makes it harder, and discouraging, for the few women who are working alongside them. And that leads to women getting fed up and leaving the industry, according to a recent study from University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.
That study looked into why out of 5,300 women who earned engineering degrees, 38% of them had left the field and found that old-boys-club type of culture had driven them away.
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