Thursday, September 2, 2010

Why Women Entrepreneurs Get Funded Less

I just wanted to share some really interesting findings from the Clayman Institute for Gender Research out of Stanford about why women entrepreneurs have a tougher time getting funded than their male counterparts.

Basically, they found that:

1) Social capital and network ties were even more important to women than men : Many successful women entrepreneurs have strong ties to a man that gives them legitimacy as opposed to successful men that tend to have larger, but weaker network ties. There was also some discussion on this panel I saw recently at an Astia conference that women tend to have 2 different networks -- one social, one professional -- while men tend to integrate their social and professional networks much more easily.

2) If a woman has a technical degree then that levels the playing field: Women technicians have a much easier time getting their ventures funded. But clearly there is work to do in order to build a pipeline of technical women leaders. Sep and I are still working away to do our part through CodeEd. Looks like we'll be expanding into two more schools/program NYC and also found two great teachers to start teaching a program in San Francisco in the spring.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

CodeEd in Business Week and on Mashable

Check out this piece in Business Week on our new program CodeEd, which teaches middle school girls from underserved communities computer science.

We also got a nice write-up on Mashable.

We’re getting a lot of great feedback that there is a real need this type of program. So we’re currently trying to figure out how to reach as many girls as possible in New York and hopefully beyond. By the spring, we’ll be 3 NYC schools and programs. We’ll be teaching more classes at Girls Prep, Young Women’s Leadership School of Brooklyn and also working with a program called TEAK.

We're currently looking for volunteer teachers to help pair-teach a 5 week, 1 hour/week Introduction to HTML class in the Spring of 2011. If you know anyone who might be interested, I'd love to talk with them.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Girls and Computer Science

There is a really interesting article in the New York Times today on why their are so few women in technology and engineering.
Girls begin to turn away from math and science in elementary school, because of discouragement from parents, underresourced teachers and their own lack of interest and exposure, according to a recent report by the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology and the Computer Science Teachers Association.

Just 1 percent of girls taking the SAT in 2009 said they wanted to major in computer or information sciences, compared with 5 percent of boys, according to the College Board.

Only 18 percent of college students graduating with computer science degrees in 2008 were women, down from 37 percent in 1985, according to the National Center for Women and Information Technology.

One reason is that engineering has a serious image problem, many women in the field say.

“There’s a really strong image of what a computer scientist is — male, skinny, no social life, eats junk food, plays video games, likes science fiction,” says Sapna Cheryan, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Washington who has researched why few women choose computer-science careers. “It makes it hard for people who don’t fit that image to think of it as an option for them.”

This is exactly why Sep and I are starting CodeEd, a program that teaches low-income middle school aged girls computer science. We launch our pilot program in less than a month at an all girls Charter School on the lower east side of Manhattan.

We're really excited to get into the classroom and start trying to break the cycle described above.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Time to Share Work and Family Burdens Equally

Great to see this article in the USA Today about how the economics of marriage have become increasingly beneficial for men because women in the workplace have become more "equal market producers."

It's something I've been thinking about a lot. Feminist gains have gotten us more equality in the labor market (thank you past generations), but we've added the economic burden to our lives without displacing any of our previous household or family burdens (with the possible exception of access to birth control which has helped us keep our families to a more manageable size).

Last September, Maureen Dowd wrote a nice article about women being unhappier due to their increasingly "crowded" lives and more demands being placed on them.

So the solution seems pretty clear. We took on some of the man's economic burden which used to be his alone. Now men need to take on some of the household and family burden that used to be women's alone. It's what the next wave of feminism should be about, and it's a final step to more sustained equality.

If we can better share the responsibility for house and family with our husbands, then perhaps we can actually stay in the labor market and go on to become CEOs and Senators without trying to do it all and then feeling like a failure when we realize we can't and we have to choose family or career. And most of us end of choosing family because that is still our burden to carry alone. If children have issues, the mother is still to blame.

My father stayed home with me from ages 4-8 while my mother worked and it was an incredibly important period for me. I was able to bond with my dad in a way that most other girls my age don't get to, and he continues to be an incredibly important part of my life. Moreover, both of my parents were able to have successful careers as lawyers (although society did make it hard for my dad to reenter the labor market after being a stay at home dad even though he had a law degree).

Anyhow, I know from experience that the career-family burden can be shared effectively and what results are more happy, fulfilled parents and children.