Why You Won’t See That Many Women in Silicon Valley
Case in point: Miss Candace Fleming, a highly successful and educated entrepreneur who has been trying to raise money for her start up company Crimson Hexagon that she co-founded in 2007, only to face sexist remarks from various businessmen. Getting taken seriously, as a woman, was proving to be harder than she ever imagined.
Of the 30 venture firms she pitched, she finally received the funding ($1.8 Million) from angel investors including Golden Seeds, a fun that emphasizes in start-ups by women.
Miss Fleming had the following to say about her experiences: “I didn’t know things like this still happened, but I know that, especially in risky times like the last couple years, some investors kind of retreat to investing via a template.” A company owned by a woman, she added, “is just not the standard template.”
Apparently, sexism in Silicon Valley, as well as other hubs such as New York and Austin, exists more than people actually think. According to the Center for Women’s Business Research, women own 40% of private businesses in the United States, yet they create only 8% of venture backed tech start-ups. If you add race and cultural background to this mix, the result is even more worrisome. Very small percentages of workers in IT are African-American, Asian or Hispanic, and that number gets even smaller for women.
However, women outnumber men at elite colleges, law schools, medical schools and in the overall work force.
Ms. Padnos, who recently founded Illuminate Ventures said, “When you have gender diversity in an organization, you have better innovation, and I don’t know where innovation is more important than in the high-tech world,”
Many firms like Illuminate Ventures, along with nonprofit organizations such as the National Center for Women and Information Technology, and Springboard Enterprises, are trying to fix this problem by raising awareness, mentoring entrepreneurial women and assisting in introducing them to investors.
Monica Morse, a trustee at Astia, had the following to say about this situation: “The good news is that Silicon Valley will see this change, they will chase the person they think will make the money, regardless of whether they wear a skirt.”