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Women In Comms

WiCipedia: Black female founders take on VC discrimination

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Black female founders fight for a bigger slice of VC funds; can tech be less racist before society at large is?; COVID-19's impact on women of color; and more.

  • A hard-hitting article in Forbes tackles the effects of a lifetime of unequal systems and how they have impacted people of color in business and beyond. Written by Gary Stewart, CEO of The Nest, "Knee on the Neck" unpacks the steps that Big Tech needs to take in order to level the playing field. Specifically, he asks questions about the future of investing in Black and Brown entrepreneurs, desegregating VC as we know it and walking the walk when the news cycle moves on from the protests and petitions. He asks if tech can really change before society at large does, and the answer seems to be no. "Despite all sincere efforts to fix these D&I issues, it will never ultimately be fixed because the tech industry is a reflection of our society and all of its issues pertaining to race, gender, class, ability, age and sexual orientation," Megan Rose Dickey wrote in a TechCrunch article last year. (See WiCipedia: How companies can align values with profits.)

    Change begets change
    (Source: Pixabay)
    (Source: Pixabay)

  • It's widely known that women get the short end of the stick when it comes to raising funding for startups, and when you're a Black woman, you get even less. Out of the $85 billion in venture capitalist funding in 2017, Create + Cultivate reports that a paltry sub-1% goes to women of color, which equates to around $36,000 in funding on average. Yet women of color founders are on a sharp ascent, with an astonishing 89% of new businesses founded by that demographic. Thankfully, there are some badass Black women fighting to demolish VC inequality and ensure that women of color who start businesses are given a fighting shot at raising funds. Head on over to Create + Cultivate for a shortlist of those women. And while you're at it, check out this article on how to practice allyship for Black-owned businesses, because we ALL need to be part of the anti-racism and equality mission. (See WiCipedia: Fake it till you make it – the confidence edition.)

  • Think being a Black female founder in the US is hard? Betakit explains that Canadians have it even rougher (for once). Only 11 female founders of color raised VC funds in 2018, equaling just 0.2% of all funding. "For minority founders, in particular Black Canadian women, their businesses are deemed uninvestable due to a host of preconceived notions. To put it bluntly, the investment industry is historically racist and misogynist," the article states. Double minorities have twice as many biases against them and twice as many hurdles to cross, and both VCs and governments need to step up, take action and make certain that they aren't discriminated against for looking different from the founders VCs tend to favor. (See WiCipedia: Careers After Kids, Int'l Women's Day & Minority Founders.)

  • We've been hearing for months that COVID-19 is affecting people of color, women and lower-income people at higher rates than others, yet it may also be creating a barrier for double minorities to snag tech jobs. Fast Company explains that the virus is seriously upending the goals of young women who are currently graduating high school and/or entering college. With more minorities hospitalized and sick because of the coronavirus, the caretaker responsibilities of this demographic have increased, putting a damper on future career plans. Additionally, with in-person schools shut down, lower-income students may not have the resources that they normally would while studying from home. Needless to say, more actions need to be taken to give young women of color the opportunities that their counterparts have come to expect without question. (See WiCipedia: COVID-19 layoffs affect women more.)

    — Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, Light Reading

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