Follow up to thoughts on #startups lead by women in #tech via @Newsweek #SiliconValley article cc: #WhiteHouse
January 29, 2015
Very interesting to read this article in Newsweek this morning entitled, 'What #SiliconValley Thinks of Women.' Here's some of the shocking highlights I learned in case you don't have time to read the entire article, but I hope you do. It's time this misogynist crap changes because it is the 21st century after all, right?
"It’s (Silicon Valley) the sort of place where one of the valley’s 'most-eligible bachelors,' (in what twisted reality?) Gurbaksh Chahal—an entrepreneur with companies valued at hundreds of millions of dollars—is shown on a home security video beating his girlfriend for half an hour. (He received no jail time, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and received 25 hours of community service and three years’ probation.)
It’s a community in which the porn-inspired, “drading” college tweets of Evan Spiegel, the CEO of Snapchat, go public; where a CEO’s history of domestic violence has no repercussions but female executives get fired for tweeting about sexist jokes they overhear. It’s a place where companies routinely staff conference booths with scantily clad “code-babes” and where women are so routinely sexually harassed at conferences that codes of conduct have become de rigueur—and the subject of endless misogynistic jokes on Twitter.
It is still the kind of place where investors can tweak women who ask them for financing with barbs like 'I don’t like the way women think. They haven’t mastered linear thinking.' This was how one investor turned down Kathryn Tucker’s pitch for RedRover, an app that helps parents find kid-friendly things to do, which has since launched in New York, San Francisco and Atlanta."
"At Tinder, a male co-founder (and ex-boyfriend) sent abusive texts and yanked co-founder Whitney Wolfe’s title because, she alleged, he told her having a woman on a board 'makes the company seem like a joke.'" (Really? Really? Tell that to Padramsee Warrior Chief Technology & Strategy Officer, Cisco; Jessica Livingstone, CoFounder/Partner, YCombinator; Gywnne Shotwell, President & COO, SpaceX and on and on and on.)
"A recent report on women entrepreneurs by the Kauffman Foundation identified the chief challenges to female entrepreneurship. Researchers interviewed 350 female entrepreneurs, and most cited “lack of available advisers” at the top of their list. Female professional attrition is only one reason for the scarcity of mentors for younger women.
Another is that women who stay in the game beyond their late 30s may be less subject to sexual harassment than their younger counterparts, but they are sidelined by virulent ageism in the industry that especially—but not solely—afflicts women." (EXACTLY!)
In an interview with MIT Technology Review in December, she (Shanley Kane) said venture capitalists talk about the need to get 10-year-old girls into science in order to bring up the numbers of women they will fund, but don’t fund the ones already in the industry. 'We are not getting hired, and we are not getting promoted, and we are being systematically driven out of the industry,' she said." (What role models do you young girls have? Only vapid bloggers or fashion CEO's who perpetuate the myth that women's only contribution to society is how they look, not how they think and contribute in other ways.)
..."the valley’s big venture capitalists are almost entirely male. The top five don’t have any female senior partners, and VC partners are 96 percent male." At least Silicon Beach HAS female investors and Girls Raising which is encouraging to acknowledge. Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on the men who produce the LA-based tech conferences because at least they're trying to reach our gender. Way to go guys.:)
"VCs are not funding women. According to a study by Babson College, only 2.7 percent of the 6,517 companies that received venture funding from 2011 to 2013 had women CEOs. Meanwhile, the Kauffman report found that female-run startups produce a 31 percent higher return on investment than startups run by men. (Even Chris Sacca has seen great results funding women.)
(And this may be the most telling of all which a lot of my young tech girlfriends don't seem to comprehend just yet): "Vivek Wadhwa, a (male!) Silicon Valley investor, diversity coach and author of Innovating Women says women must approach male VCs with caution and awareness: “'Women don’t get it. The young women don’t seem to understand the reason why they get their calls returned so easily and get small amounts of funding is they are dealing with hungry men. These are disgusting perverts. Some of them used to be my friends—sexist jerks. And I know how they speak behind the scenes.'"
There's so much more in this excellent Newsweek article which I hope you will take the time to read and then share with others who might benefit from the enlightment. This attitude and shutting out of women must change. It just must.
And not in the We must, we must increase our bust mantra-style.:) But seriously, get a clue dudes. This isn't the age of Mad Men and you need to give us credit where credit is due.
That's all. This has been a PSA against misogyny because there aren't any made right now and this topic is just as valid as domestic violence because this is an assault against our economic society.
Heavy sigh, I feel better.:)