Hidden sexism of e-technology sector

Women are as likely to face
sexual discrimination in the technology sector as they are in more traditional
industries, according to an Industrial Society report.

Dot Bombshell:women,
e-quality and the new economy,
by Helen Wilkinson for Futures at the Industrial
Society, finds that despite the success of a few high profile women
e-entrepreneurs the new economy is founded on business as usual for the
predominantly male investment and finance community.

Of the E25, the list of most
successful Internet start-ups, only three women are listed as founders and only
one per cent of business angels – self-made entrepreneur investors – are women.

Wilkinson, founder of a new
venture, Genderquake, said, "The huge potential of the new economy to
transform the relationship between gender and wealth creation is not being
realised. An historic opportunity is in danger of being missed. The talents of
women are being neglected by the most vibrant part of the economy."

Wilkinson claims women face
a harder time raising financing, have greater family responsibilities and
suffer from stereotyping about their abilities.

She believes
that a tougher investment climate, and recent downturns on Nasdaq are
reinforcing the innate conservatism of the financial institutions driving the
return to business as usual.

Wilkinson,
who
highlights
the fall in the number of girls and women moving into ICT,
thinks
that if women are given more encouragement and support they will make a real
contribution to the economy.

She
said, “A new economy built on diverse foundations will be more creative and
sustainable than one which simply reproduces the old inequalities"

The report proposes that the
Government and the private sector should encourage and finance women-led
business incubators.

It also recommends that
venture capital institutions should recruit more women to work for them and
appeal more to women entrepreneurs.

The study calls for the
government or Equal Opportunities Commission to sponsor an ‘Investors in Women’
kitemark.

By
Ben Willmott

 

 

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