Is your startup sexist?



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Brilliant article!

G more than 7 years ago

Answer: Yes

Yes, my "startup" is sexist. It is also not really a startup - it was acquired by a publicly traded company, and operates under their tutelage. There's nothing that screams sexism at work, but there are subtle cues like bosses getting chummy only with the male team members (and not even acknowledging the women, at times), women being left out of important meetings because we should focus our attention on the "important projects at hand". There's a well-acknowledged glass ceiling, and as pointed out by the CMO, it's unlikely they'll appoint a woman to a "real management position" any time soon. The ONE woman listed as part of management, only has a title that doesn't really mean anything. And no, it obviously isn't all in my head - my requests to take lead on several projects were appreciated for "initiative", but the projects eventually ended up being run by male colleagues. New ideas were turned down for being "insignificant", but were tested when proposed by men, because it was "good timing". Since there's no way to fix how an entire company of almost a 100 men thinks, the only solution is removing myself from this extremely demotivating situation.

Other startups I've worked at have been less biased, but there is a very clear glass ceiling - my takeaway so far has been that while most companies claim to be equal opportunity employers, once a woman's in, there's only a certain number of rungs she can climb on the ladder.

R more than 7 years ago

Great article!

Thanks for the great article, Mihret! One thing that stands out is how the girls "thought it was in their head." These kind of micro-aggressions can drive you cray-cray, not only because sometimes its true! How do you draw the line with behavior that subtly, even unintentionally places females below?

Often, men assume women are risk averse or shy, two things that don't work in the Start Up scene. On the other hand, some women are! I can't tell you how many meetings I've been to where women let the men do the talking, and undermine themselves when they finally do speak up. Meanwhile, those women who are loud and in charge are constantly chided for talking too much or interrupting, shit men get away with as a matter of course.

We need a solution coming from both sides- women refusing to accept not being given a seat at the table, and men being self-critical about behaviors that they might not even realize sidelines females. Like all kinds of discrimination happening right now in Germany, its not enough to throw up our hands and say there's nothing to be done.

t more than 7 years ago

Run your own company

I really think the best short term solution is for women to run their own start ups. I ran a successful business with my female business partner, and we had a constant stream of men trying to give us (unsolicited) advice on how to run our business: we watched many of these men crash and burn because of their lack of people-skills or sheer ego. We have to learn to use our strengths to our own benefits. And that works best (at least in present society) when we can do it on our own terms, defining our own goals. more than 7 years ago

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