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Overcoming The Gender Bias

Entrepreneurship was considered a male-dominated domain, but today there’s a shift in the tide, women have taken over even in this field. Despite that, whenever we read the news, we find a plethora of stories about the absence of an egalitarian society.  There’s no doubt about the fact, that women face more challenges than men. In order to work, they need to defy social expectations, have a work-life balance, play dual roles, etc.  The focus today is the pay gap and the lack of representation. The glass ceiling that exists in the industry needs to be broken and only women can do it. Once they set the wheel in motion, it’ll automatically speed up. But how do we get more women in industries?

Taking help of data to bridge the gap

“If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.”– Virginia Woolf.

It’s important to know the magnanimity of the situation before taking any steps. To make any kind of improvement, the first objective should be to understand the nature and scope of the situation. This increases the importance of data available through various sources. This data can not only be used to understand the problem, but also to provide relevant solutions to the problem. For instance, prominent companies like Google and Facebook have begun the release of an annual diversity report in the recent years. This is an excellent way to create and promote an inclusive work environment. Similarly, other methods could be employed to bridge the gap. Olga Mack, a Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur, has launched online petitions to increase board leadership positions for women on major corporate boards. She calls it a “petition movement that makes the fiscal and social case for taking initial steps toward gender equality on the boards.”

Mack-Olga
Olga Mack, Silicon Valley Tech Entrepreneur

Also Read: How grants can help Women Entrepreneurs in Startup!

Encouraging women’s participation and mentoring them

“I feel really grateful to the people who encouraged me and helped me develop. Nobody can succeed on their own.” — Sheryl Sandberg

Mentorship programs can help companies improve their online reputation and remove the risk of outside defamation. However, there is only a small percentage of women who have mentors. Due to this, they are forced to do everything themselves as opposed to men. In order to overcome this problem, it is very important that both men and women have equal opportunities. This could be done by being around fellow successful women. This, in turn, would empower and help business development in the startup world. There are many third-party services which help in mentoring women. For instance, Glassbreakers is a tool that connects an employee with peers, sponsors, mentors, etc on the basis of their personal professional interests. Another solution could be the creation of small groups of women where they and meet regularly and help each other. This would help improve performance. For instance, the founders of Dropbox, Drew Houston, and Arash Ferdowsi are mentored by Ali and Hadi Partovi, two successful serial entrepreneurs of the Silicon Valley.

Arash-Ferdowsi-and-Drew-Houston
Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi, Founders of Dropbox

Also Read: Sheroes startup to power women employment

Creating an equal work culture

Startups that wish women to advance have a noble goal, but, in order to fulfill it, the establishment of a conducive cultural environment that allows this to happen is necessary. The working culture should be an embodiment of the firm’s goal, symbolizing equality. This goes down to the very basic issue of the pay gap. If the man and woman are doing the same job, they both should be paid equally. Despite being a very simple issue, some startups determine the pay scale of employees on the basis of gender making it complex. Xactly’s founder and CEO Christopher Cabrera dug into the data for his own salespeople so that the employees could be paid fairly. When the employees were asked about this, they stated how proud they were to work for a company that cares for its employees.

Christopher Cabrera
Christopher Cabrera, Founder of Xactly

Also, while hiring, equal opportunity needs to be given to the candidates and the best person should be chosen. Objectivity might be an issue here as personal biases come in, but efforts should be taken to be as objective as possible and there should be no room for any kind of preferences. Appcues, a company that focuses on improving user onboarding and engagement for SaaS companies, is one startup that has taken this approach. As a company that is currently only 20% women, they’re actively trying to promote a more inclusive environment, so that more women consider applying for their software engineering positions.

Related Article: Top Three Women Entrepreneurs In India Who Made It 500-Startups

 A process towards a slow and gradual change

Everything changes except for the word change. However, the speed of change differs. Persistent efforts taken in the direction of change will lead to a change in all cases, but, the change will be slow and gradual. One needs to commit to this for the long haul, only then will this culminate into something big. Companies need to understand that this dream would come true only after a certain period of time; hence, continuous efforts need to be taken. They don’t need to be material in nature; they could be implemented with a change in policy or in any other way, which has long-term returns.

Thus, the time is ripe to make alterations and put one’s best foot forward to bridge the gap in your startup.

What do you think, will gender bias in startup industry come to an end? Please share your comments below.
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The Author

Nikita Kumawat

Bussiness consultant by profession, Avid reader by soul , a friend in need and super passionate about the startup bandwagon!

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