It’s well-documented that female entrepreneurs rely less on venture capitalist funding than their male counterparts. Only one percent of female founders have used VC money to fund their business. But why? Some women steer clear of venture capital in order to maintain leadership and creative direction. Recent research out of Sweden tells another story however…
When studying how government venture capital is awarded (an often veiled and private process), researchers couldn’t help but notice major differences in the language used to describe male and female applicants. They decided to investigate further, and an additional study confirmed what they initially observed — stereotypes influenced opinions.
Leaders should be careful to avoid biased assessments of strengths and weaknesses when evaluating candidates. But not just when it comes to gender.
A recent panel at Advertising Week Europe emphasized the importance of building a workplace that reflects as many people as possible. Vanessa Kingori, the U.K. publisher of GQ magazine, said it plainly, “As we diversify platforms and audiences, we need a different workforce. This isn’t a nice liberal idea, it’s a business necessity.”
Indeed it is — for attracting employees and consumers alike. According to research from CustomerThermometer, 65 percent of consumers say they feel most emotionally connected with brands that come across as caring about people like themselves. The next most important factor? Feeling like the company is making a positive difference in the world (55 percent). And the latter is especially important among women (61 percent).
The athletic and lifestyle brand Athleta must have had this data in mind when developing their latest experiential activation — a collaboration with the nonprofit GirlVentures. Together the partners led six adolescent girls on multi-day adventure in Joshua Tree National Park. Fully outfitted by Athleta, the girls built community, self-reliance and self-esteem like you’ve never seen before. I guess that’s what happens when you rock-climb blindfolded.