Men have easier access to mentorship, mentors are more likely to be male,
and women face barriers in accessing funding.
Access to mentorship in startup world significantly impacted by gender
Female respondents noted it was much more difficult to find mentors. 21% of female respondents claimed it was “extremely difficult,” while 40% claimed “somewhat difficult.” Compare this to male responses of just 5% and 27%, respectively.
When the respondent did have access to a mentor or several mentors, they were most likely male mentors.
This correlates with our findings that women are less likely to hold leadership roles in the startup world, resulting in fewer high-level women to act as mentors.
Women were also more likely to cite mentorship as “extremely” or “very” important to their career advancement in the startup world, at 64% compared to men’s 51%. Men were also three times more likely to state that mentorship was “not important at all” to their career. This may be linked back to the “prove it again” theory, whereby men are judged on their potential, making mentorship and sponsorship less of a necessity, compared to women, who are judged on their past accomplishments.
Gender affects access to funding
Though we did not collect quantitative data on funding, qualitative data strongly suggests female founders face additional barriers when pursuing funding. This is also supported by existing research, which demonstrates that significant unconscious gender bias affects the VC world. Since studies show that having women in top leadership is linked to financial success in startups, this could be a critical focus area for the Seattle startup industry.
“Funding tends to be an old boys club. Even as a man I find fundraising to be more about who knows you then what the idea or business is.”
“The most obvious place where gender has been a disadvantage is in raising capital.”
“Funders (Both Angels and VCs) are also predominantly male, and often are more likely to fund entrepreneurs and ideas that remind them of themselves.”