Women in tech: will female startups save the world?

February 19, 2013

Some of you who have been listening to the show since the beginning may remember my third episode on women in tech. Writer, teacher, entrepreneur and provocateur Vivek Wadwha was one of the interviewees for that show. I spoke to him, Gina Trapani and Adda Birnir about the obstacles faced by women working or wanting to work in the tech field, the joys of working in tech, and why, for some women, it has an image problem. Today, Vivek posted this article on LinkedIn. It deals with the question of the lack of women in Silicon Valley's startup world, what's changing and what more can be done. He has been researching this topic in conjunction with the Kauffman Foundation, which devotes itself to entrepreneurship. He's pretty optimistic about women 'saving mankind' as he says. I'm too British to use such over-the-top language myself, but his views are well worth reading. 

His team and Kauffman did a survey of 500 women founders, which he discussed at last week's Women 2.0 conference. He emphasizes they're still analyzing the reults. He has given me permission to post a couple of slides from his presentation here. Further down the page you can hear a snippet of Vivek talking to me last year about the reactions from some women when he began to speak out about the lack of women in Silicon Valley.

This first slide shows preliminary resutls suggesting the average age for women starting companies has dropped quite a bit, and that compared to several years ago, many more female entrepreneurs have master's degrees.

Then there's this slide, which asks what kinds of obstacles, if any, the women founders have faced. The most reported? Dismissive attitudes from colleagues.

 Vivek says he is also considering "crowdsourcing a book about the challenges women face in the technology world, how we can correct the imbalance, and the great opportunities that lie ahead." Follow him on Twitter at @wadhwa to keep up with his project(s). And here's that audio snippet from last year.