The issue of women startup founders not receiving equitable venture funding is a shortfall of the West: It’s here, everywhere in the U.S., and over there, all throughout Europe.
It’s hard to say that some of these metrics represent investors simply pulling back when data shows the bias has historical precedence. Even in 2008, all-women U.S. founding teams raised 1.2% of all venture capital, according to PitchBook data. In 2012, they raised 1.8%, then 1.7% in 2016. If anything, 2021 was the anomaly, which saw 2.3% of venture dollars allocated to all-female U.S. teams. Today, that number is tracking at 1.9% so far, which is nearly on par with what, typically, always has been.
That the solution is so simple — cutting more checks to women — highlights the discriminatory ideological strongholds that our society continues to impose on us.
In Europe, the story is quite similar, although 2020 was the standout year that saw women raise 2.4% of all venture capital on the continent. Last year paints a more realistic picture: All-women teams raised only 1.1% of all venture funds in Europe, a number on par with what they raised in 2017, 2018, and 2019, which saw these teams pick up 1.5%, 1.8%, and 1.5% of all venture capital, respectively, as previously reported by TechCrunch. The inequality gap is failing to move in a meaningful direction.
It’s no coincidence that our societies, with frameworks and ideological mores hand-crafted with sexism and misogynoir, have made little progress toward equitable change. There are two concurrent narratives here: In one, the data reflects how investors, the men in charge, truly feel about economic gender equality. At the same time, the numbers are a byproduct of our Western society, one that is still beholden to excluding and devaluing women, one that relishes their treatment as second-class citizens, rendering their dreams irrelevant.