Networking (Part I)

Yunika at Summer Party

Networking is a Man's Game (Part I of IV):

The Challenge

Historically, business has always been dominated by men. According to Catalyst, women own over 36% of small businesses, make up nearly 50% of the workforce, but only 15.4% hold CEO positions. As gender equality is accepted in many fields, executive and founder-level positions are still lacking a sense of equality.

In the heart of Silicon Valley, in a progressive city like San Francisco, it is hard to imagine that there are still gender inequalities when it comes to business. More women are starting businesses than ever before, but female-founded companies are still strikingly less funded than male-founded companies.

According to Gené Teare and Ned Desmond in TechCrunch, female-founded companies only make up 18% of companies that receive funding. Though this number has doubled in the past six years, it is still an unsettling inequality. Male-founded companies make up 88% of startups and 90% of those that get venture funding. These statistics generate many questions. Why, if women make up nearly half of the workforce and own 36% of small businesses, is the funding not proportional to these statistics? Stigmas in society may pressure men to be primary bread winners and women to hold more traditional roles in the home, but as we move away from these standards and transition to a gender-inclusive business world, there seems to be areas of business that are reluctant to accept female leaders.

These issues relating to equality for female entrepreneurs are pressing. In a recent article from The Wall Street Journal, serial entrepreneur and investor John Greathouse stated, “In a similar fashion, women in today’s tech world should create an online presence that obscures their gender. A gender-neutral persona allows women to access opportunities that might otherwise be closed to them.” Though Mr. Greathouse does acknowledge and raise awareness that there is gender inequality in the startup world, surely there is a solution to equal opportunity that does not involve masking your gender in order to be treated equally. Gender should not be a factor in the exploitation of business opportunities.

As the traditional arguments have already been provided, seeking lasting and novel solutions requires new perspectives.

In Part II, III, and IV, I incorporate various management theories on this issue to provide new thinking that may lead to specific solutions. Gender equality can be broken down into different frontiers. In this blog post series, I will mainly focus on gender equality in the world of business. This seems like a large problem to take on, but by using three theories: Weak Ties, Prior Knowledge, and Disruptive Innovation, there may be a way to arrive at a solution.

Lauren Pike