All bros?

maxresdefaultI read a post on Medium by Rachel Thomas.  Rachel gets tech.  She has a phD from Duke in math.  Enough said.

In her post she highlights some really great statistics that I will share.   Her post is a worthy read.

41% of women in tech end up leaving after 7 years vs 17% of men.  The main reason for leaving?  Discriminatory work places.

Investors prefer identical pitches from a man vs a woman by 68% to 32%.

Women who ask for a salary raise were rated as being more difficult to work with and less nice vs their male counterparts who were not perceived negatively for negotiating for a salary raise.

In 248 performance reviews in high tech, negative criticism such as abrasive, strident and irrational showed up in 85% of the reviews of women vs 2% for men.  Seriously?

The bias is huge.  Things need to change.  Men need to change their thinking more than women.  Especially male leaders.  Sexism is everywhere.  The stories that I could tell are beyond but nobody wants to point fingers.

I have been spending the last few weeks talking to sponsors about the Women’s Entrepreneur Festival next April.  This year it will be held at 1 World Trade Center as we are taking it on the road (no longer at NYU).  One of the subjects I have talked about with sponsors is how unique the event is. When there is 400+women entrepreneurs in a comfortable environment it is amazing how they learn from each other, validate each other and inspire each other.  Our tag line is connect and be heard.

When I read these statistics, I can’t help think about WEFestival. and I will be writing more about that in the months to come.

What I will share is that after reading so many of these statistics, watching first hand behavior in companies overwhelmingly male I have made an investing decision.  This will be adding to my thesis.  Already almost 75% of the companies I have invested in are women founders.  I invest in men too but I will not invest in a company that are all bros.  When I open a deck and see a bunch of smiling guys without one female on the team I close the deck.  Change has to happen from the investors too.  Building companies that have gender balance from the get-go will create different environments for women and if you look at the data around women outperforming men these days (ROI), I am pretty confident this is a very wise choice.


Comments (Archived):

  1. drmarasmith

    Your insight, determination and vision culminate in a type of leadership that is incredibly powerful and critical for those of us who are taking on the biased “machine”. I consistently come up against both sexism and ageism – its real and its tough, but I know I can do it. Couldn’t agree more that these changes need to happen with thought and consideration at inception not as a second thought. Thank you for continuing to help move us all forward – together. Can wait to get back to the WEFestival!!

    1. Gotham Gal

      We are super excited about wefestival too

  2. Jenna Abdou

    Really admire you for taking action and sharing your decision, Joanne! Very powerful and sends an important message.

  3. Sofia Papastamelos

    In addition to male investors stepping up I think a lot initiative needs to be taken by those early startup founders. You are setting the tone for the rest of the company. Groups of bros: Consider adding another female founder or early female leader to your team. It can make a huge difference and ultimately help attract a more diverse team as the company grows. Women are drawn to other great female leaders. I know I have personally benefitted from having both male and female managers.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Women want to work in companies that have balance. Definitely

    2. Disa Berggren

      >It can make a huge difference and ultimately help attract a more diverse team as the company grows.Perhaps the team cares more about diversity of ideas, approaches, and skills than what is between the legs of their team members?

  4. Matt Zagaja

    I prefer balance and if had to pick between working for two equal companies one that was balanced and one that wasn’t, easily would pick the balanced one every time.Yeah I get that finding women who are in CS or engineering is more difficult but it also says a lot if a company puts in that effort and succeeds. If your recruiting is going to be lazy what else is going to be lazy and then I wonder how well is it really going to succeed?

    1. pointsnfigures

      I’d pick the one that gave me the best opportunity for success. If it’s the balanced one, so be it.

    2. Gotham Gal

      Great point.Few years back there was an article in NY mag about the start up world. Pretty much all men and out of SF instead of NY. The reporter didn’t look to hard to find the people he wrote about. Same hing when it comes to balanced company. Work it

      1. Twain Twain

        Have you read this by female founder Kieran Synder, PhD Computational Linguistics?*…Her article says: “The Twitter data suggests that the tech industry may have begrudgingly found a way to listen when women talk about their experiences as women in the industry, but hasn’t yet afforded them equal attention in the broader conversation about technology and business.”I focus on Machine Intelligence:*…And I know three secrets:(1.) Women naturally bring the Art and Heart to any systems we create.(2.) The hardest area of AI is any programming involving emotions and it’s FEMALE researchers who’ve led and are leading the way there — pls see Rosalind Picard and Rana el Kaliouby of Affectiva; Dr. Marian Bartlett of Emotient; and Fei-Fei Li, Director of Stanford AI Lab.(3.) The greatest breakthroughs in technology have needed intelligent women to make and spark those breakthroughs, so AI NEEDS women to solve the emotion and natural language problem that none of the male AI gurus have had a clue to solve in their male echo chambers of logic and maths.Maths as a language may tend to be male domain expertise but Natural Language is female X code and our domain expertise. That’s why the “bros” need women more than they’re even aware of — if we’re to solve some of the hardest problems in tech.Charles Babbage needed Ada Lovelace to make his Difference Engine workGeorge Antheil needed Hedy Lamarr to invent what became Wi-Fi.NASA needed Margaret Hamilton to land the Apollo 11 safely on the moon.Crick&Watson needed Rosalind Franklin to discover DNA.Alan Kay needed Adele Goldberg to co-invent smalltalk which later became Objective-C, the programming language that runs and powers all the apps on Apple’s devices.Some women somewhere in the world have likely already had the ideas or invented the systems that can do what Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Uber et al CAN’T DO because of their predominantly male thinking.So you’re well-positioned for the future rather than for the past.

  5. Heather John

    Great post Joanne! I think your decision makes a lot of sense. I’ve already seen the positive impact of a diverse team playing out in our first year at LawGo and I’m convinced that having a culture of diversity is part of what helps us attract and retain a team of A-players. I think that a non-inclusive culture at a company will likely impede its ability to attract and retain the best hires as the company grows. I’ve also found that, as a consumer-facing company, having a diverse team actually helps us produce a better product because different perspectives help us understand and empathize with our customers and potential customers.

    1. Ty Martin

      There’s also clear evidence indicating diverse teams can succeed over homogenous ones, in business and elsewhere.… It’s not always the case, particularly when there are relatively few unknowns, unity of vision, speed and specialization are assets. However, my experience is that startups succeed when founders are generalists, are open to new possibilities, and can draw from a diverse range of experiences to inform decisions.

  6. pointsnfigures

    This is interesting to me for a wide variety of reasons. I am not sure the stats spell everything out correctly, just like when pay for women is quoted as gospel. (Much of the difference in pay for women in a macro sense can be chalked up to choice of job, choice of responsibility within job, and leaving the workforce to have a family) I read an article that was an interesting counterpoint:…There is zero doubt in my mind women have it tougher than men. There is zero doubt in my mind that bias occurs. But, how we approach doing something about it needs to be well thought out. My preference would be to be transparent, educate people, and create BIGGER pies and options for everyone-not choose or force a tradeoff between one or the other.

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      “But, how we approach doing something about it needs to be well thought out.”This would suggest that Joanne’s decision isn’t well thought out which would suggest you aren’t very familiar with her or didn’t read the post thoroughly.”My preference would be to be transparent, educate people, and create BIGGER pies and options for everyone-not choose or force a tradeoff between one or the other.”I would encourage you to learn how statements like this really come from being in a place of privilege. If you’re truly interested in being a feminist and ally to women feminists, it will require (i) understanding your privilege, (ii) checking your privilege (especially when women are sharing their experience), (iii) listening more than speaking, and (iv) assuming you don’t understand the female experience (approaching situations with an “I will learn here” vs an “I will teach here” mindset).

      1. pointsnfigures

        I am not suggesting that about Joanne’s decision, and am glad she is doing it.I am not a feminist, but I am not anti-women either. (the way that I am interpreting what you wrote!) -and don’t think I have privilege at all. I really get upset with people that tell me I have privilege. It strikes a nerve in me. I worked my tail off and took a boat load of risk. I have had the pain of losing, and the joy of winning. I didn’t have family money at all-and was raised in a middle class home. Made $150/week gross with no benefits, then $200, then $400 tops for 2.5 years and worked 12 hour days before I started trading.I have pretty good empathy for the female experience. I am married, have two daughters, female cousins, and have interacted with plenty of females. Because we might not agree on certain points doesn’t mean I am not supportive of women. The trading floor was NOT hospitable to females, and you can learn a lot from a culture like that if you listen.Women communicate differently then men. They have different concerns. They lead differently. I appreciate the differences.I think it’s important to include women when you build a company-although I don’t agree that both sexes need to be present at the founding. It’s about the way your company creates and administers company culture. Within startup communities, it’s about your culture. Where I am 30% of the startups are female led. More than anywhere else in the world. The org I started, HPA, had a female managing director, and has had a lot of females on board. We are creating a female friendly culture in the Chicago startup community, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          You are white. You are male. Therefore, you have privilege even if you don’t realize it. That is the kind of privilege I’m referring to.Getting upset when told you have privilege is not an unusual response. I also am middle class and worked my ass off for everything I have, over-coming some enormous setbacks. I still have privilege because I’m white. It’s not an insult or a slur. It’s just the way it is.I may have empathy for lots of people who are different, by birth, than me. That doesn’t mean I’ll ever understand their experience, no matter how hard I try. But I can do my best to listen when they share their experience and believe them.”…My preference would be to be transparent, educate people, and create BIGGER pies and options for everyone-not choose or force a tradeoff between one or the other.”Are you saying that this wasn’t a criticism of Joanne’s decision to filter out male-only investments? Do you support her decision, actually?

          1. pointsnfigures

            We disagree on privilege. I don’t see any way we will persuade each other either.On the investment thing; NO, Joanne is a great investor. I respect her judgement a lot and would appreciate any opportunity I had to co-invest with her. I don’t read her blog and interact here for kicks. If I was invested in a company or leading a seed round that I wanted to bring to her which fit her criteria, I’d ask to make an intro. She has a great mind, sees trends, and has a tremendous network she developed. BTW, That’s without Fred-Fred’s great but as a co-investor I’d never count on Fred getting in the game. Great investors like Joanne have principles and sometimes a thesis. Every investor doesn’t have to agree. When there are opportunities to work together, you do-otherwise you treat each other with respect. Pretty simple. Like a big trading pit.On the female/male thing, my preference is to create bigger pies. Often, people look at things with an eye toward division of pies. Growing pies is better for everyone and more fun.

          2. JLM

            .The white, male privilege is an offense to fairness and logic.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          3. Kirsten Lambertsen

            I agree it isn’t fair or logical, and yet, it’s real.

        2. Yinka!

          “My preference would be to be transparent, educate people, and create BIGGER pies …” … “don’t think I have privilege at all. I really get upset with people that tell me I have privilege. “Bigger pies are being created as we speak. Yet, equitable access to and sharing of the pies are still lagging. Its 2015 but female founders still get less than 10% of available funding. And bias is still pervasive e.g. as mentioned in the post, most investors decide the same pitch is only legit when delivered by a male (vs female). Which illustrates the privilege that @MsPseudolus:disqus mentioned: By virtue of your being a white male, you’re automatically more likely to get funding if you pitched. There are different types of privilege, occurring in varying contexts, regardless of the beneficiary’s feelings/intentions. You may believe in meritocracy and disapprove of bias but the fact remains that in this context, you already stand better chances even before saying or doing anything.

          1. Vivinne Williams

            Yinka thanks for jumping in, in my comment I mention my experience in academia with a group of 4 white males who would swear they had no bias. It was invisible to them- they previously harassed and pushed out a white female in a similar position in the department. Even with a female president (which was unprecedented) they fought back to maintain their “normal.” Normal included vicious name calling of previously hired females, the college president and various “others.”It’s like a fish in water, very difficult for them to see it. Others who jump into the pond, can see and experience it as water.

          2. Kirsten Lambertsen

            Your fishbowl analogy is perfect! I can’t wait to borrow it 🙂 Thank you.

          3. Vivinne Williams

            Thanks, actually you added bowl part which is even better as it implies limit to the ecosystem! Meaning being in a small contained “Waterverse” I was just thinking of it as the typical saying of water being invisible to fish yet they live in it, move and are supported by it. In my case to acknowledge how some naysayers see blacks in such positions-I was given a royal welcome! BUT when actual power, ideas or decision making needed to be made, it was made clear to me that I was not part of that. I literally was meant to be there to show “diversity,” but to shut-up! Now this might be academia and the entire tenure system, which is a weird messed up power struggle place. I saw my “superiors” do this game which I now see like hazing. You started low, let yourself be “beaten,” borderline “abuse” then upon conforming after few years, you’re given tenure. At that point you are part of the club- and can inflict same pain on poor fool who follows!

          4. Dylan Sojumd

            It’s counterproductive to say ‘only 10% of funding’ without including the necessary variables. How many female founded technology companies? How many of comparable talent, skills and ideas were rejected?

          5. Kirsten Lambertsen

            I get really upset when people tell me I’m white. I don’t think I’m… oh, wait.All the numbers supporting our case, yet we must be wrong. Let them eat pie!

      2. Vivinne Williams

        Kirsten Lambertsen thank you. I have to share an anecdote, it’s vague now the details- but it was a white male who I believe writes for Forbes(?) he stated that if indeed a woman had either been raped or sexually harassed, as alleged “he would know” and so it must not have happened! I laughed so hard, in shock and amazement- so this woman of course would have told the entire office staff- yeah…

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          SMH. I hadn’t seen that. I think many a man would have an enlightening moment if he were to be shown how many of the women in his life have been sexually assaulted.

          1. Vivinne Williams

            Also in the anecdote I shared it was a work situation (making it evenless likely he “would know.”) But So true. And that I think as women we need to do it. Many men assume well, gee it’s not happened to my ex-girlfriend, my sister, my wife even. Yeah, women need to at least tell close, trusted males so they can see the scope-I’m sure they don’t know. I think then more men would also see the hurt and step up. That would be a beautiful thing.

    2. Cam MacRae

      a) While it is true that the stats do not paint the complete picture, it is very often equally true that they give a nod in the right direction. For example, most studies examining the gender pay gap in advanced economies find that a gap in the ballpark of 7% cannot be explained by women’s preferences, etc. Of course it is nigh on impossible to prove that sexism accounts for the unexplained proportion, but it doesn’t seem an unreasonable candidate for at least part of it.No one has successfully argued that a gap of perhaps 7% is a problem of a different magnitude to a gap of 18% or 21% or insert your number here, insofar that any of the gap is a product of a “fortunate” birth.The same idea holds here: If you have zero doubt in your mind women have it tougher than men, and you accept this is for no other reason than they were born women, why argue the toss?b) I do not understand how you arrived at a forced trade off between a bigger pie and options for everyone. Can you elaborate?

      1. pointsnfigures

        b) If resources are limited, or artificially constrained, there are trade-offs. For example, as I am raising a fund, there are certain entities I have spoken with that will not invest in my because I am a white male. Would be better to evaluate everyone based on their track record and thesis than skin color or gender. That makes pies bigger. OR, targeted tax decreases/increases is picking and choosing. I was in a Tax increment financing district meeting with the local government and my suggestion was just decrease the taxes for everyone regardless of who they were; and it was met with deaf ears because then it meant government officials couldn’t pick and choose who got what. I also know of stories where women tried to raise money and the pension officer intimated that if they slept with them, they’d get money. Gross.Economics professor Marianne Bertrand of the University of Chicago has done a ton of research on pay disparity. I am repeating her findings. Find this interesting about women’s pay: During her time in the U.S. Senate, Clinton paid women in her office 72 cents for each dollar paid to men, according to a report by Washington Free Beacon.

        1. Cam MacRae

          Ah! So you propose to do away with the constraints of the status quo as well as the constraints of so called positive discrimination?

          1. pointsnfigures

            I’d make the world flat.

          2. Cam MacRae

            Would you make any accommodations for the previous 2600 years when the earth was round?

          3. Ty Martin

            Well put.

          4. Donna Brewington White

            You need to show up more often, dude.

          5. Cam MacRae

            Miss you too, Donna! 🙂

  7. Laura Yecies

    Thanks for leading the way on this. Hopefully more investors will join you.

    1. Gotham Gal

      How great would that be

  8. Mike Porath

    It’s a real issue and I think much of it stems from a networking bias. I don’t think most men are purposefully trying to hire only men. Several I know haven’t worked with as many women and although many want balance, they default to hiring from their closed networks. That’s not an excuse, but an explanation. So when you say “no” to the all-bro team pitches, please tell them why and offer to connect them to some of the great women you know. I think a lot of these guys — the good ones — know that having a balanced team will serve their companies better in the long run.We have 10 full-time employees and 8 are women. Our core audience is about 80% women too so it fits pretty well, but I honestly haven’t thought much about male vs. female when hiring. I came up through editorial, where there were as many if not more women than men. I also worked for several female managers who helped me in my career. If we can give people the experience I had, we’ll have far less of a networking bias down the road.

  9. Linda Vasu

    Love this post. Thank you. I currently teach in an all-girls preK-12 independent school (and am a former MOUSE board member) with a huge focus on STEAM, and of course a huge focus on expressing one’s voice. It’s astonishing that women who negotiate are still branded strident by bros who are threatened. Connect and be heard is certainly a great tag line. But for “all bros” it’s all about connect and #listen.

  10. Sandi Lin

    Kudos for your decision. I’m a CEO/founder (Skilljar), and formerly MIT/Stanford/Amazon. I’ve now seen both angel and VC fundraising, and I firmly believe change has to start coming from the angels. Here in Seattle, another prominent angel (Jonathan Sposato) recently announced he’ll only invest in companies with a female founder as well. Thanks for helping make real change.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Wow. Jonathan… I should meet him

      1. Harvey Wallbanger

        How is this not the same kind of bias and misuse of power that you are lamenting? To rule out people based on sex is what you are supposedly fighting, but here you are cheerleading excluding working/investing with men.Do you have the slightest amount of self-awareness? You are a bigot.

  11. Jeff Tchadjeu

    TL:DR1) Gender parity exists and should be addressed2) Sexism is an issue but may not be the biggest issue3) We should direct our focus on empowering girls and women4) Organization like WEFestival and Women Who Code are doing an awesome job solving the issues5) I really like what you wrote and believe we are slowly improvingMark Twain said that there are three kind of lies — “lies, damn lies, and statistics”. All this to say is that numbers can be arranged differently to suggest, not merely different, but totally opposite conclusion. I’m by no means questioning the propositions made by the stats you stated but simply suggesting that there may be a broader story to be told.While the push for equal representation is well-intended, I believe that it can not only be misguided, but can ultimately do more harm than good. It discriminates against one group while downplaying the capabilities of another. It risks creating rifts within firms, and can ultimately, harms industries overall.The first thing that many fail to understand when thinking about this issue is that, in a competitive market, there is a cost to discrimination. A free market is gender-blind — it only sees skill, productivity, and it rewards those who think along those same lines while punishing those who don’t. When someone is discriminated against, they are not the only person harmed. An employer who makes hiring decisions based on gender often does so at the cost of hiring lesser qualified candidates. A competitor who decides to hire solely based merit will end up with a higher skilled workforce at or below the market rate and will thus soon outperform the sexist employer.Over time, more firms will realize they can outperform their sexist counterparts and as the trend continues, firms that practice discriminatory hiring practices will eventually get pushed out of the market as they become less competitive. As economist Thomas Sowell puts it, “The competitiveness of the market puts a price on discrimination, thereby reducing it but not necessarily eliminating it.”Suppose under a new initiative to hire more women, Twitter suddenly hired enough women to claim a 1:1 male female ratio. Whether all their hires were the best candidates for the position would surely be up for debate but let’s assume that they were. We can be sure that tension would rise between incumbent workers and new hires as one group would question whether the other got hired based on merit.A common misconception is that gender disparity exists solely due to a systemic problem embedded in the hiring process. While that may be the case in some instances, I believe the broader reality is far less sinister. For one, I think the pool of labor is reflective of the disparity. There are far more men graduating with engineering and math degrees than females so when it comes to the choices hiring managers in tech are offered, there are far more male engineers than women in the hiring pool. I believe a better initiative would be to encourage more girls to get interested in maths and sciences at an early age.Organizations like Ladies Learning Code and other like it are great because they focus on getting young girls interested in tech early. Other organizations like Women Who Code focus on women, rather than young girls, who may be interested in a career chance. Both are awesome approaches to solving the gender disparity in tech. Even WEFestival is a great initiative in empowering women within the industry. A recent BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) report suggests that there is an increasing trajectory of wage equality. Most of the 17.9% wage gap in the U.S can be attributed by the number of hours worked, marriage, kids, and age. In fact, women who work full-time and who have never married make 95.2% of male earnings narrowing the gender-wage gap to less than 5%.But times are changing and so is the typical structure of the family. More women are deciding to have less kids or no kids. More men are deciding to stay at home and raise children while their wives work. Organizations like the ones mentioned and numerous others are doing great work in getting young girls and women excited about tech. I think our efforts should focus on removing barriers that would prevent women from entering the talent pool of tech engineers. In the end, employment should be based on merit, and if hiring managers have as many women as men to choose from, that is a win in my book.Ironically, What I liked the most about your article is the sentence of the last paragraph where you mentioned the data around women outperforming men. I also really like the idea behind how having a female founder plays a role in carving out an inclusive culture from the onset. I want to clarify that I agree with your article in that having more women in tech would be beneficial to the industry as a whole on a number of levels. But that shouldn’t come at the expense of merit (which you didn’t say it should but I’m just restating). I think both those goals could be achieved if we focus on empowering women through the programs discussed.

    1. Dylan Sojumd

      Logic in a sea of irrationality, thank you.

      1. Queena Divana

        This sounds like the same “reasoning” to suggest that racism is not a factor in anything, too…

        1. Justinian

          Reason as the oppressor! The retreat from the Enlightenment’s ideals in the name of essentialism continues. “Racism is not a factor in anything”. Really? Is that remotely what Tchadjeu said? “Sexism is not a factor in anything”? I thought I saw in item 2, enumerated above that sexism was an issue but perhaps not the biggest one. Did you miss that? He gave a careful reasoned response, which was met with little more than a snarl. Very persuasive.

  12. JLM

    .How many woman partners at USV?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  13. InteliAthlete

    Happy to hear! Hopefully more investors will realize how beneficial a balance is to the success of companies. Looking forward to hearing more about the Women’s Entrepreneur Festival.

  14. Jennifer Dawn

    Sexism IS everywhere…particularly in this article.

    1. Dylan Sojumd

      It’s not sexist if males are the target.

  15. Ely Chan-Hosea

    I applaud you for doing what you believe in. For more than25 years, I have been the 5’2” Asian Female financial expert but very few mengive me credit for my brains. At my last employer (tech company), 20% of 50 =women. Sad, but true – used to find guys in the women’s restrooms because therewere not enough stalls for the 80%.At one bankruptcy meeting for the top 20 creditors, I wasthe only female in a room of 14, and I did most of the talking. The president ofmy company was asked by a golfing friend if I was 29 years old!When I worked inside Treasure Island (Las Vegas), men wouldask “How much for one hour?” I would just say “I am not a masseur”.I can write a book on my true stories.

  16. Mona DeFrawi

    The issues are not just cultural, they are also biological and therefore sub-conscious. Change will require pervasive, deeply invested efforts – not impossible, but not easy either. Shifting consciousness – even sub-consciousness just needs that hundredth monkey…

  17. lynnerae

    Bravo, Joanne! As a managing partner of a VC fund (Mexico/cross-border specialty) I, too, understand the value of female founders on a team. While we currently have about a 50% ratio of companies invested in with a strong female founder, I will look to follow your lead, and up that percentage.

  18. Jyoti

    Great article about this topic and inspiring to see that visibility on the issue is making its way to the venture community. I mentor Girls in Technology as part of the Women in Technology association. Creating an environment for these young ladies to stay, be welcome and valued in technology arena is key to our competitive edge as many countries around the world already have high participation in tech industries!

    1. Gotham Gal


  19. Harvey Wallbanger

    Wow. I’m just trying to imagine a woman’s reaction to a man saying “I won’t invest in a company that is all ‘hoes”. “Bros” has become a derogatory term hurled at men that is indicative of bias in the speaker. You do not acquit yourself well or impress with this kind of commentary.Pro-Tip: Having a PhD from Duke doesn’t mean one knows tech. She’s focusing on outcomes. Women have very different working behavior and make different career choices than men. It should shock exactly nobody that they end up in different roles as a result. This kind of nonsense “science” has to be debunked for an intelligent conversation about gender and the workplace to occur.Otherwise, the author should be up in arms at how women totally dominate primary education now – there are very few male teachers or administrators left in public, primary schools, this must be the result of sexism and oppression by women, right? I mean, the women control all the power positions doing the hiring, so its axiomatically about bias and sexism and misandry and oppression, right?Same logic as the argument presented here. I’m tired of being polite about this BS. She wants to publicly claim that she will engage in bias based on sex – sexism, she shouldn’t expect to be treated politely

  20. Ray Beharry

    First Round actually found that female-led startups fare better than all-male..

    1. Gotham Gal

      Yep. I linked to it on the post

  21. AngelSpan

    Couldn’t agree more. We walk the walk at AngelSpan. Check out our Advisors. Look at our staff. As we grow, there will be more females than males in our business. Pretty even now, and it will be one of our competitive advantages going forward. ‘Game’ in both left and right brain skills is what is necessary for better built and run startups. Less ego, more outcomes. After all, it is about execution, not the ‘shinny bauble’ of the business idea.Play to your strengths..and the ‘long game’ ladies. You will win in the end. You always do.

  22. Vanessa/TiaGirlClub

    Love the article! Thank you for writing it. I am the founder of a company called Tia Girl Club, a lifestyle brand for tween girls (we have over 5,000 Tia Girls following us on Instagram – @tiagirlclub). We teach girls a language of empowerment (TIA=Today I Am) and introduce our Tia Girls to positive female role models (we believe you can be it if you can see it!). It’s something I think you’d enjoy and can read more about it here:… I’d love to be involved in the WEFestival. I’ll be checking it out! Thanks again!

  23. Donna Brewington White

    I’ve been thinking a lot about this because I just had to write a statement on diversity for my new upcoming (executive search) website. One thing I wanted to make clear is that hiring for diversity is not enough. A culture must be created that retains the people hired. Actually this is true for all hires, but particularly true in creating a diverse team.One thing I am going to start offering is to go into situations (for free) that have trouble attracting women and/or minorities to just give a common sense evaluation of what some of the problems might be. I don’t think it would take long to figure out what the signals are that create a sense of un-welcome — particularly for women.

  24. Donna Brewington White

    Forgot to add to my previous comment, Bravo Joanne!

  25. Dylan Sojumd

    Diversity is not a numerical concept. By this rationale you would have missed Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Airbnb, Uber, and on and on and on — trillions of dollars of value. When females comprise 14% of CS grads it is irrational to expect a 50/50 split. That would be an anomaly, not the norm.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      Joanne is making a principled decision. As a result she will miss some opportunities, yet gain others. Even without the trillions, there are still hundreds of millions to be made based on her investment thesis.”Diversity is not a numerical concept.” It’s not so much about numbers as it is about metrics.

      1. Gotham Gal


      2. Dylan Sojumd

        I’m sure

      3. Disa Berggren

        Caring more about what’s between someone’s legs than their ideas, their intelligence, and how hard they will work is ignorant, sexist, and will lose her money. I can tell from your sexist and patronizing attitude that you do not work in tech, and have no idea what you’re talking about. Diversity is not about the color of your skin, what’s between your legs, or any other form of identity politics. Diversity is about people’s experiences, approaches and strengths, and as a woman who actually works in tech, people with your attitude who send the message that women are thoroughly incompetent and should only be hired as tokens to appease some irrationally sexist investor and not based on their skills are seriously damaging women in tech.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Could you point out what I said that was patronizing or sexist?

  26. Vivinne Williams

    Simply-thank you. I had an experience in academia of “All Bro’s” and it’s not good. Similar name calling in evaluations, exact same behavior sanctioned in male bro’s.I honestly think the cause in tech companies is that these boys, grow up not relating to much beyond other boys and a computer for years. This doesn’t lend itself to normal social development.

  27. Leslie Ali Walker

    There are fewer women out there leading unicorns for a ton of reasons. But lack of tenacity, smarts or ambition is not one of them. Studies show that women who do decide to start something they believe in, do so after careful consideration and generally a lot more prep. They know it’ll take being better than average and beating the odds to get there. Given this, doesn’t it just makes good business sense to pay attention to those who do walk into a room with an idea? Big thanks to Joanne for creating WE and championing some of those women. We’ll be promoting the WE festival and more next month on WNYC’s show New Tech City / Note To Self, where our startup (YOUxWE) will be featured for launching the first app to help working women find the trusted resources they need to ‘lean in’ and sit at any table, whenever they want.

  28. ErikSchwartz

    The real unicorn is a good co-founder.Should Larry not have founded Google with Sergey and looked for a female to found with instead?

    1. Gotham Gal

      It is about the C team. I have invested in founders and their first hire that they had already made was a woman. When the first round of hires are all men that is not a good sign.Granted..this might limit me but the importance of pushing the envelope and supporting women is important. I might miss some but there is always another deal walking in the door.

  29. Crystal

    Thank you! I am so happy seeing more and more people publicly validating this as a real issue. — Crystal Grave, Founder // Snappening (Indianapolis, IN)

  30. Disa Berggren

    Once again, someone trying to “fix” sexism in the industry by both being sexist against men and patronizing women. In this day and age the single biggest obstacle to women being thought of as equals in tech is the fact that people like yourself try to make yourselves feel better by treating women like children. I have never been discriminated against working in a largely male field because I don’t go in with a shitty attitude expecting every male I see to discriminate against me.Also, speaking of “tokenism,” this is the epitome of it. Telling startups that they should get a woman on their team not because that woman could actually be judged fairly like everyone else and because she will add value to the team, but because some childish investors like good PR for themselves.

  31. Joanne Chang

    This really resonates with me. I’m an angel investor at the younger end of the spectrum (34 yrs old) and I am often the only FEMALE and sub-50 year old investor in the room. I started when I was 30 and I find that I often have a very different perspective as a young(er) female who is actively raising a family with small children. I have had uncomfortable conversations with founders raising their seed round when I ask them about their all-male teams. Sometimes I am the first person who has EVER pointed it out to them.I don’t think there is anything wrong with all males, per se, but it does a red flag in my head of,”what else am I missing?”. If it makes the founders uncomfortable, the investment is not for me. If the founder are open and honest about looking for exceptional talent (in BOTH genders) then I’m willing to listen.Like Gotham Gal, I prefer to put my money where there is at least 1 female founder. Or at least a female mentor and/or female team member in a very senior role.

    1. Gotham Gal