Achieving Equity for Female Leaders: How to Make More Progress
It was 35 years ago when Congress designated March as “Women’s History Month.” But I believe there’s a systemic bias baked into this idea: Women’s accomplishments are celebrated as “women’s history,” whereas male accomplishments are simply “history.” While well-intentioned, the designation still perpetuates some of the gender disparity and stereotypes that women face every day.
For women leaders, we’ve seen a lot of progress over the past few years, including the election of America’s first woman vice president and a record number of women CEOs in the Fortune 500. Despite this uptick, we’re far from achieving equity.
It’s no secret that women-led startups are funded less compared to their male counterparts, but based on my calculations from the latest trends from Pitchbook, we’re nearly 50 years away from gender parity. If the current year-over-year growth rate continues as it did last year, it will be 2069 when entirely female-founded teams reach parity when it comes to VC funding with teams led by their male counterparts. Last year, companies founded solely by women garnered a mere 2% of dollars invested in VC-backed startups in the U.S.
This is not just about diversity and equity. There’s also a strong business case for taking more chances on women. Recent research shows that companies in the top 25% for gender diversity on executive teams are 25% more likely to have above-average profitability, and businesses founded by women deliver higher revenue than companies founded by men, according to Boston Consulting Group.