Thoughts on Female Founders
(Wrote this a year ago on another blog, sharing on medium now!)
tl;dr Are lack of female founder role models resulting in fewer women in tech?
It’s 10pm on a Saturday night. I am just switching over from tea to wine and from homework to personal projects. So, the usual.
A little while ago, however, while I was working on some homework, I had a podcast episode playing. It was an interview with Leah Busque, founder of TaskRabbit. She was on Foundation with Kevin Rose (one of my favorite podcasts) and talking about the origins and future of her company. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about female founders, especially of tech startups. Leah actually touched on the topic in her interview, which I suggest everyone listen to!
What she covered had to do with the lack of women in tech related fields. Since she grew up in such a small town, then ultimately ended up going to an all women university, it actually didn’t come to her attention until she started working after graduation. However, this is something that I see all over the place, especially being at such a large school.
When I first started getting interested in entrepreneurship (pretty recently, around December of 2014) I just wanted to know as much as possible. One tiny spark of interest started a wild fire. I spent my winter break poring over blogs, books, podcasts, anything I could get my hands on, just trying to learn more about this exciting new world. Given my background in IS, I am more interested in technology/internet based startups so I immediately started immersing myself as much as I could. I joined clubs at school, became a co-founder of a student tech startup on campus, started volunteering as a designer for a social entrepreneurship movement, and eventually turned down my corporate internship this summer for a UI intern position at a startup called Capstory. Which is what this blog is based around! Obviously, I am terrible at pacing myself.
But I love it! I’ve never been more excited to learn, meet new people, and build amazing things. The thing is though, throughout this whole process I haven’t been seeing one incredibly important thing, women.
Or at least not much of them. You can read all sorts of studies that say people look towards role models that are most like them. Meaning, men tend to look towards men, women tend to look towards women. That’s natural. Of course, I’m not trying to say that all the new people I’m meeting are not extremely smart, capable, and driven. But I do feel like that the lack of women role models within the world of entrepreneurship and technology tends to fend off a lot of would be founders, or at least entrepreneurshiply-minded women. That’s not to say there aren’t any women at all, far from it. The numbers are just a bit skewed in my opinion, and my question is, why?
That being said, what’s a girl to do? Well if you are a lady and just starting to look into this stuff I have a couple suggestions for you.
1. Y Combinator’s Female Founders Conference 2015 — Speakers in video format
2. Y Combinator’s Female Founders Stories 2015– Posts on Founder origins
That’s just a start. And men, those links lead to some awesome stories about amazing people, all worth a listen. For the first link, I’d suggest listening to Adora Cheung. That one was one of my favorites.
Anyways, this was a long first post, but what do y’all think? Opinions? Thoughts? I know it’s a touchy subject, but it’s one that’s near and dear to my heart. Also props to you if you’re reading this sentence and sticking with me for so long. Comment, share, tweet- choose your poison. I’ll be here to respond!