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article imageStartups believe there is a gender bias problem

By Lisa Cumming     May 7, 2018 in Technology
New research released by Unilever Foundry found that four in 10 female startup founders frequently experience gender bias while running their businesses.
As a part of a new partnership with UN Women, Unilever Foundry — Unilever's startup partnership platform — has committed to ensure that half of all the startups they partner with are female-founded within the next five years.
The problem
In lieu of this partnership, Unilever Foundry conducted interviews with female founders and heard that 39 per cent of female startup founders frequently experience gender bias while running their businesses and 42 per cent don't believe that the gender discrimination they've faced will go away as they climb higher.
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Their research also found that 61 per cent of women in startups don't believe that the space has enough female role models and 42 per cent of women said that finding startup funding was one of their biggest barriers.
We know that when we embrace diversity and inclusion in larger organisations like Unilever, we unleash the best in creativity, ideas and innovation – it’s business critical for us. And with Unilever Foundry we strive to work and collaborate with the most innovative startups in the world," said Aline Santos, Unilever EVP Global Marketing and Head of Diversity and Inclusion, in a press release. "Through this report we can see a major gender diversity issue in early stage companies – from the low numbers of female founders, to the lack of support women experience across the lifecycle of their companies. So we are committed to leveraging the power of Unilever to make sure we shine a light on this issue and increase the opportunities for talented people to lead the startups of tomorrow.
Going forward
The good news is that there are VC funds looking to invest in underrepresented founders. Disruption Ventures is looking to invest exclusively in tech businesses that have been started or are run by women. Backstage Capital is a VC firm that has just started a fund to invest exclusively in black women founders.
Melinda Gates also recently invested $200,000 into an AI startup run by two women as a part of her initiative to get more women involved in tech.
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