Well we’re coming to the end of our month of celebrating women; the ones who seem to be able to handle it all. The women at home, the ladies at work, those who run their own businesses and souls who dream of one day determining their own destiny, by being their own boss. So as I start to conclude the month of March with my work kaftan on, I’d hoped to write something positive about female founders and their rise. But, I read an article that really upset me.
Investment in female led businesses fell last year, according to a study Barclays carried out. The report stated that whilst record money went into businesses generally, investment in female founders dropped. Shockingly, only 4% of money raised in 2011 was by women. This number rose to 15% in 2016, and yet dropped last year. Crikey, when I think what Sophie and I did back in 2006, the percentage raised by those with bras on, must have been sub 1%! Makes me very proud indeed. Basically we achieved the impossible, over and over again.
To add salt to the wound, a study by Harvard Business School found that if a business came with a female name, picture or voice, it reduced the odds of it receiving investment. Questions from investors to female entrepreneurs tended to focus on potential losses, while those posed to men focused on gains! Sophie Jarvis, head of the Female Founders Forum said, “There is significant evidence to support the fact that the funding gap is influenced to a large extent by unconscious biases from investors to the detriment of women.” I have to say, this just pisses me right off. As if this isn’t hard enough, creating and building businesses. Now, it looks like the odds are stacked against women playing it what was a boys playground, and seems to still be.
So to me, it feels like there’s an idea here; women backing women financially! When you look at the fact that between 2003-6 and 2013-16, the number of women setting up their own business rose by 45% compared to just 27% among men, who’s backing them?
With half of the planet being female, with women spending 90% of the household income and women creating more businesses, what’s going on out there?