A new study from the Clayman Institute for gender research at Stanford suggests that there is still a major gender bias in how Venture Capitalists view women entrepreneurs. While we love to celebrate entrepreneurship among women, and have done so with our recently launched“Bad Ass Startup Chicks” feature and by having women focused panels at everywhereelse.co The Startup Conference, not everyone is quick to recognize the female entrepreneur.
Business Insider has an advance of the study which says that women only receive 4.2 percent of venture capitalist fuunding.
At the heart of the study was a project where the researchers created identical executive summaries for a startup. They then modified the education and gender of the fictional entrepreneur and asked participants to rate the venture’s likelihood of success and their impression of the entrepreneur.
The three key takeaways were:
- Women with a technical education and background raised the confidence in the VC’s and their willingness to meet and potentially invest.
- Women without a technical background received “significantly lower” ratings. Even if they had business degrees, which often help men, they were harmful for women.
- Network ties were incredibly critical for women.
“What we found was that having a technical background helped both men and women,” said Stanford’s Andrea Davies Henderson. “But it helped women more, in terms of likelihood to invest a higher percentage, and likelihood to schedule a meeting with an entrepreneur.”
“Not having a technical background hurt women — it hurt their chances of securing a meeting and securing funding,” Henderson continued. “But it didn’t hurt men.”
Women in startups, entrepreneurship and business have been a hot button topic since the release of Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In”. The Clayman Institute was the academic partner for the book.