There was a time when technology promised so much. Like providing opportunities for women to shatter glass ceilings, join corporate boards, and generally shake things up. With all the allure of a shiny new industry, surely technology would provide progressive and equitable ways of integrating and promoting women in the workplace.
It’s a promise that remains largely unkept. Start-up culture tends to perpetuate traditional business gender bias, or worse to morph into frat boy culture. The much-heralded promise of a new workplace culture has turned out by and large to be a mirage. Albeit a mirage well stocked with Ping-Pong tables, espresso machines and nap pods.
Change has been disappointingly slow. Or has it?
While women account for half the workforce and only 6.4% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women, fortunately, these numbers don’t tell the whole story. In 2018 40% of appointees to Fortune 500 boards were women—up from 18% in 2008. Progress may be slow, but the good news is it’s slow and steady, and moving in the right direction.
The even better news is female entrepreneurship is exploding. According to American Express, the number of women-owned businesses in the U.S. has increased 26% over the last decade to 11 million.
Today, women owned businesses are now growing faster than the national average. And women of color are opening a disproportionately high number of them, persisting despite unique barriers to revenue growth, which highlight the many challenges faced by diverse entrepreneurs.
Typically, women entrepreneurs have been held back by restricted access to capital and STEM education.
The former is slowly increasing. Thanks in part to ventures like Golden Seeds a networks of angel investors who invest exclusively in women. For these investors it’s about more than championing diversity. There are sound economic arguments for investing in companies with strong female leadership. Not least, according to MSCI ESG Research, businesses with strong female leadership tend to outperform the market. The gender gap in STEM education persists. According to UNESCO only 35% of STEM students in higher education are women. Given that many careers of the future are STEM based, this disparity needs to change and change quickly to train tomorrow’s women entrepreneurs.
Thentia is committed to women succeeding in the workplace. As such we’re proud to sponsor Femmebought’s 2019 Angel Investing Chicago Event as a celebration of women in tech.
There was a time when technology promised so much. That time is now.
And we truly believe the best is yet to come.
We’d like to extend a warm welcome to everyone who’s participating. Now let’s get down to business!