One Big Thing
“With every gain we get there’s a counter-gain, with an all-male firm being founded or an all-male company getting a super-sized round,” Ho says.
Out of the $130 billion raised from venture capital firms in 2018, all-male teams received 76%.
All-female teams received 2.2%.
For context, women outnumber men in America.
There are obvious, structural reasons behind this absurd discrepancy, but I think a big, understated issue in this debate is perception.
What positions do the collective we assign to professional men and women?
This question is essential beyond venture capital.
At the center of Silicon Valley, Stanford thinks of itself as an anti-establishment meritocracy. But the data suggest otherwise.
At Stanford, 62% of the staff are women.
But 72% of the faculty — the university’s intellectual capital — are men.
If you go by these numbers, the takeaway is clear: at Stanford, women are staff and men are faculty.
Every decision, consciously or subconsciously, flows from this reality, which may explain the student breakdown.
Stanford’s undergraduate student body is close to evenly split — 52% male, 48% female — but the gender gap widens for its high-earning graduate students: 61% male, 39% female.
University faculty need graduate degrees.
Stanford has a $25 billion endowment. If it wanted a faculty that reflected America’s gender breakdown — majority female — it has the resources to create a new normal.
But it hasn’t, and neither has the VC community.
If we measure priorities through resource allocation — an imprecise but directionally helpful measurement — Stanford and the venture capital community are comfortable with the 70+% status quo.
They aren’t the only ones.