State of the Startup: Women in Tech

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A presentation I gave at General Assembly in June 2012 about the state of women in technology.

A presentation I gave at General Assembly in June 2012 about the state of women in technology.

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  • \n
  • This is a bra. And I start with this for a number of reasons. The bra has long been a symbol - even if it’s been a misconstrued and inaccurate symbol - of the feminist movement. This is the symbol of the elephant in the room every time we have conversations about the status of women. It tends to derail conversations and sometimes cause people to tune out. For two reasons: one, there are a lot of people who don’t believe that this is a conversation that we still need to have. Yup, women earn more Bachelor’s Degrees then men. And yep, we’ve got the right to vote. But take one look around any tech event, and you’ll catch a glimpse into why we still need to have this conversation. The other reason its that it feels like anytime a conversation is about women in an industry it gets shifted to a conversion about feminism. And not feminism as it is meant to be interpreted and understood - but as the man-hating, bra-burning sensationalized feminism that makes people feel that women are claiming entitlement and sometimes even superiority based their chromosomes. \n\n
  • So let’s get past bras, unless we’re going to talk about them in business. Which by the way is a $12 billion dollar business. And that brings me to what this conversation is about - it’s about business and how understanding the tech industry, making smart decisions within the tech industry - requires understanding the role that women play.\n\n
  • To understand the current state of women in tech, we need to look at three things: \n1. How many women are involved in tech and what they’re building\n2. What funding looks like for female-founded startups\n3. And then why - why things might be the way we are - what is the environment that women are functioning in and why it matters that we change them\n
  • \n
  • US population\n
  • This is the tech industry - 25% women\n
  • But in startup world, it’s more like this - 5%\n
  • \n\n
  • And it usually feels like this\n
  • \n\n
  • \n\n\n
  • \n\n\n
  • \n\n\n
  • \n\n\n
  • \n\n\n
  • \n\n
  • And as we look at what happen’s when companies grow up...we start seeing the same disparate ratios reflected in their boards of directors. \n\n\n
  • Alright, so even if we are still looking at huge disparities in the percentage of women building things...there are still a lot of women out there building things...so what are they building? \n
  • If you’re like most people, you will probably guess that they are building a company in one of these categories.\n
  • Shopping. Fashion. Beauty. This is often called the Pink Ghetto\n\n
  • \n
  • But the Pink Ghetto is big business\n
  • So let’s take a look now at funding - both from the perspective of what women get and how female-led companies perform\n\n\n
  • \n\n
  • Top stat: vs. 26.1% of male owned businesses\n
  • Loosecubes 7.8\nIndieGogo 15\n\n
  • \n\n
  • \n\n
  • So why are things the way they are? \n
  • Women have a long history of not being involved in STEM careers. There are many long-standing societal reasons for this. \n
  • The tech industry has been an almost single-sex industry for a long time, which has significant implications. \n
  • But that shouldn’t be used as an ongoing excuse. \n\n
  • \n\n
  • Lawsuit by Ellen Pao - Kleiner Perkins\nWomen usually won’t talk on the record about the experiences they have\nWhat is the truth? \n\n
  • Male VC opening up a conversations about concerns about funding women\n
  • #1 reason there aren’t more women involved in tech isn’t work/life balance - it’s this: \n
  • \n

Transcript

  • 1. State of the Startup:Women in Tech@jessicalawrence
  • 2. This is a bra. And I start with this for a number of reasons. The bra has long been a symbol -even if it’s been a misconstrued and inaccurate symbol - of the feminist movement. This isthe symbol of the elephant in the room every time we have conversations about the status ofwomen. It tends to derail conversations and sometimes cause people to tune out. For tworeasons: one, there are a lot of people who don’t believe that this is a conversation that westill need to have. Yup, women earn more Bachelor’s Degrees then men. And yep, we’ve gotthe right to vote. But take one look around any tech event, and you’ll catch a glimpse into whywe still need to have this conversation. The other reason is that it feels like anytime aconversation is about women in an industry it gets shifted to a conversion about feminism.And not feminism as it is meant to be interpreted and understood - but as the man-hating,bra-burning sensationalized feminism that makes people feel that women are claimingentitlement and sometimes even superiority based their chromosomes.
  • 3. $12 BillionSo let’s get past bras, unless we’re going to talk about them in business. Which by the way isa $12 billion dollar business. And that brings me to what this conversation is about - it’sabout business and how understanding the tech industry, making smart decisions within thetech industry - requires understanding the role that women play.
  • 4. % $ ?To understand the current state of women in tech, we need to look at three things:1. How many women are involved in tech and what they’re building2. What funding looks like for female-founded startups3. And then why - why things might be the way we are - what is the environment that womenare functioning in and why it matters that we change them
  • 5. %
  • 6. US population
  • 7. This is the tech industry - 25% women
  • 8. But in startup world, it’s more like this - 5%
  • 9. Overall, fewer than 5% of startups are owned by women.http://onlinemba.unc.edu/mba-at-unc-blog/women-at-work-infographic/
  • 10. And it usually feels like this
  • 11. In New York, 20% of startup founders are female.http://techcrunch.com/2012/04/10/startup-genome-compares-top-startup-hubs/
  • 12. On average, 25% of NY Tech Meetup attendees are women.
  • 13. Between March 2010 and June 2012, 12% of applications to demo atNY Tech Meetup were submitted by women
  • 14. In 2011, only 12% of computer science degrees were awarded to women.
  • 15. Only 1.5% - 3% of open source developers are women.
  • 16. Of the Fortune 500 companies, 4% have female CEOs.
  • 17. http://onlinemba.unc.edu/mba-at-unc-blog/women-at-work-infographic/
  • 18. The percent of women on 56% of Facebook’s users are women. Facebook’s board? 0%And as we look at what happen’s when companies grow up...we start seeing the samedisparate ratios reflected in their boards of directors.
  • 19. Alright, so even if we are still looking at huge disparities in the percentage of women buildingthings...there are still a lot of women out there building things...so what are they building?
  • 20. If you’re like most people, you will probably guess that they are building a company in one ofthese categories.
  • 21. Shopping. Fashion. Beauty. This is often called the Pink Ghetto
  • 22. In 546 female-founded tech companies, the top industries that the womenfounders are focusing on are: 1. TECHNOLOGY — 74 startups including CloudFlare, GeoMagic, HarQen, Ning, Sense Networks,Six Apart.   2. BUSINESS — 71 startups including Candid Capture, ConsumerBell, ContactKarma, IndieGoGo,Minted, Quantum Retail Technology.   3. MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT — 71 startups including Blip.tv, BlogHer, Ground Report, Huffington Post, MingleMedia TV, 6Waves LolApps.http://www.women2.com/challenging-the-pink-ghetto-women-start-more-tech-companies/
  • 23. Retail: Fashion: Beauty: $4.7 Trillion $199 Billion $330 BillionBut the Pink Ghetto is big business
  • 24. $So let’s take a look now at funding - both from the perspective of what women get and howfemale-led companies perform
  • 25. Male-owned businesses receive 95% of VC funding awarded.http://onlinemba.unc.edu/mba-at-unc-blog/women-at-work-infographic/
  • 26. Only between 3% and 5% of women-owned businesses receive venture capital Only 10% of venture capitalists are women Women are just 12% of all angel investors http://onlinemba.unc.edu/mba-at-unc-blog/women-at-work-infographic/Top stat: vs. 26.1% of male owned businesses
  • 27. Loosecubes 7.8IndieGogo 15
  • 28. http://onlinemba.unc.edu/mba-at-unc-blog/women-at-work-infographic/
  • 29. “ As a group they (women-led Fortune 500 companies) outperformed the overall market–companies dominated by male chief executives–by 28%, on average, and topped their respective industries by 15% [in 2010]. ”http://community.nasdaq.com/News/2011-11/girl-power-list-of-companies-with-female-ceos.aspx?storyid=101171#ixzz1xi6JrlR2
  • 30. ?So why are things the way they are?
  • 31. STEMWomen have a long history of not being involved in STEM careers. There are many long-standing societal reasons for this.
  • 32. The tech industry has been an almost single-sex industry for a long time, which hassignificant implications.
  • 33. But that shouldn’t be used as an ongoing excuse.
  • 34. Golden Gate Ruby Conference: Matt Aimonetti’s talk “CouchDB + Ruby: Perform Like a Pr0n Star.”
  • 35. Lawsuit by Ellen Pao - Kleiner PerkinsWomen usually won’t talk on the record about the experiences they haveWhat is the truth?
  • 36. Paige Craig, Good AngelMale VC opening up a conversations about concerns about funding women
  • 37. “ Women feel less comfortable in engineering than men, and lack the “professional role confidence” that male engineers seem to acquire easily. ” - From a study by MIT social scientist Susan Silbey#1 reason there aren’t more women involved in tech isn’t work/life balance - it’s this:
  • 38. Thank you. Jessica Lawrence @jessicalawrence