Posted: Fri 21st Apr 2023
The majority of female entrepreneurs who replied to a poll said they have likely faced sexism when looking for business funding.
According to the research conducted by Enterprise Nation member and Enter the Arena founder Julia Elliott Brown and commissioned by the Independent, 85% of 100 women founders said they had "definitely or probably" faced sexist behaviour.
Farah Kabir, co-founder of sexual wellness brand HANX, told the newspaper that she had faced sexist comments such as:
"This is a man's job; This is a male-dominated industry; What do you little girls want? It's a man's world; Sexual pleasure is about men; The sex tech industry belongs to men."
"On the few occasions I've been accompanied by a male advisor, the difference in their attitude towards HANX has been palpable.
“I think the tech industry is still heavily weighted toward white men. Do I think there's diversity washing? Absolutely. Funds need to start putting the money where their mouths are and start backing female founders of colour. There's definitely been sea change, but more needs to be done."
Research released earlier this year showed that only 16% of funds went to high-growth companies with at least one female founder in 2022, and less than 2p in every £1 invested went to all-female founding teams, compared to 85p for all-male founding teams.
Julia Elliott Brown told the Independent:
"Our industry talks a good game about embracing diversity, empowering women and supporting those who have founded their own businesses, but this means nothing if women don't even feel safe to walk into a pitch without being confronted with sexism."