By Caperton (Contributing Writer, Feministe)
Seeing more female-lead startups in male-dominated fields would be awesome. It’s on the list of other things to work toward: Getting more girls and women interested in tech fields. Gaining widespread recognition for women already in tech fields. Supporting women in all areas of the workplace, top to bottom.
Helping more women into C-level positions, and then helping them help other women up behind them. And, yeah, giving interested women the opportunities for entrepreneurship that have traditionally been the territory of men. No business exists in a vacuum, of course, and certainly no business venture is completely beyond criticism, but when we’re trying to encourage entrepreneurship among women, it’s disingenuous to then say, “Wait! Stop! We didn’t mean that kind of entrepreneurship. That kind is embarrassing and not okay.”
Here’s what’s not okay: According to the Center for Venture Research’s annual report on the “angel investor” market, in 2010, women-owned ventures accounted for 21 percent of applications for angel capital, and that 13 percent of them received it –- five percent below the overall rate.
Facebook’s top female executive both preaches and practices the importance of supporting other women –- but also criticizes women for asking “girl questions” about, say, finding a mentor, and suggests that the glass ceiling will go away if we don’t believe in it, that what we see as sexism is just women not being assertive enough. And a woman in the tech industry goes to a conference and sees woman after woman presenting startups –- and her only contribution is to criticize them for being girly. That’s pretty embarrassing to me. I’m embarrassed for her.
It’s not a zero-sum game -– encouraging women as they enter into male-dominated fields doesn’t require cutting other women down.
» Read the full post at Feministe.