As a result of the recent Uber scandal, the culture of sexism that is present in many tech companies has rightfully been called to the public's attention.
Technology, like many sectors, has disproportionately low numbers of women, and the percentage of women of color is even lower. The number of women founders at tech startups is around 15%, despite the fact that women overall are actually attending college at higher rates than men.
Not only are these discrepancies a result of systemic challenges that women and minorities face in breaking into the workforce, but for the small percentage of women and minorities that do enter the tech world, they are often faced with a culture of sexism and racism, as demonstrated by a study conducted by the Kapor Center. This study found that 40% of women and minorities left their jobs due to mistreatment or unfairness, which was much higher than for Caucasian males. The under representation of these groups is further perpetuated through this harassment.
What is the solution to this? The answer is not a novel one: making sure these groups are represented within high-level positions at tech companies. Besides the apparent reason of diversity being important to for the common good, diversity in the workplace could also lead to stronger businesses. Female led start-ups have a 49% higher valuation at the last round of funding than male-led start-ups.
The way in which we can help women and minorities to succeed and become more proportionately represented in this area is through funding more women and minority business leaders. Women do not receive funding at the same level as men, largely due to implicit bias by venture capitalists. To fix this, some venture funds, such as the female founder's fund, invests only in female-led startups. Angel investors are also a part of this trend, with groups like 37angels, which is a network of angel investors that invest in female led start-ups. Though this gap still exists, through understanding the ways to fix it, we can generate more successful women in tech, creating a more successful and more equitable world.
As a company with a female co-founder, Quesnay has worked to support women in the workforce. Our co-founder, Jenn Byrne, has worked as a mentor and speaker in female-focused groups. Quesnay has also supported the work of PitchLab NYC, a live competition focusing on female-founded startups.