In Startup Culture, Being Female is a Liability

Whether it’s due to conscious or unconscious bias, the statistics clearly show that women have a harder time getting funding and being taken seriously as entrepreneurs.

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Starting your own business is an incredibly brave and risky endeavor that requires a great deal of skill, confidence, and luck.  The unfortunate reality, however, is that while the opportunity to become an entrepreneur and found a startup is available to everyone, men and women face very different advantages and disadvantages in the process.  Here are some of the disadvantages of being a female entrepreneur/startup founder:

Getting Funding Is More Difficult

The financial barrier to starting your own business is already a difficult task that can eliminate many startups before they even get off the ground.  Procuring funding for your business can unfortunately be a lot more difficult for women than it is for men.  Unconscious bias about women can skew whether or not venture capitalists decide to invest in a female entrepreneur, resulting in lower success rates for female founders. 

The Harvard Business Review found that when questioning male and female entrepreneurs about their ventures, men were most often asked about the potential for growth of their venture.  Women, on the other hand, were usually asked more questions about risk and being careful with money.  This may be part of the reason that startups with female founders only receive 10% of global venture funding.

It Can Be Harder To Be Taken Seriously

The stereotype of the cautious female entrepreneur only further reinforces the gender divide between startup founders.  When people are asked to think about a successful entrepreneur, the generic image that comes to mind is usually of man.  As of a 2016 study, 60.51% of new entrepreneurs in the US were male, while only 39.49% were female.  Because there are fewer female entrepreneurs, they often suffer a higher degree of prejudgment simply for going against the norm.

There Are Fewer Allies In The Industry

Another disadvantage of being a female entrepreneur is the lack of networks that female startup founders have to help launch their company.  When it comes to starting their own business, entrepreneurs need a network of people who they can turn to for advice, referrals, and mentorship. 

Female entrepreneurs unfortunately do not have the same level of access to female mentors as their male counterparts do.  Having a mentor to guide you through the obstacles of entrepreneurship and provide you with information about the industry is vital to the success of any startup.  Female entrepreneurs who don’t have this valuable mentorship will be much more likely to have their business fail and reinforce the stigma against female startup founders.

Whether it’s due to conscious or unconscious bias, the statistics clearly show that women have a harder time getting funding and being taken seriously as entrepreneurs.  This causes a lower success rate for female entrepreneurs, which further hinders their efforts by denying them allies in the industry who can help them get ahead.  Addressing and acknowledging these issues is the first step to paving the way for more female founded businesses and a more equal playing field.

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