Why Women Must Succeed in the Startup World (And How to Do It)

July 8, 2016

9:00 am

Women in work have always been a big issue. Today, the issue revolves around the pay gap. The latest studies say that a woman will earn 79 cents for every dollar a male worker will earn. There’s also a serious issue to do with representation within major companies. One biotech company even hired cocktail waitresses just to get the number of women they had up at diversity conferences.

The startup world is where change tends to happen first, though. Women must succeed in the startup world if this is something that’s going to translate to larger companies. Once women become the captains of innovation only then will the rate of change speed up.

So how does the startup world go about getting more women into successful companies?

Use Data to Help

Data is used for everything these days, including increasing the value of B2B sales deals and developing sales campaigns. It can also be used to make improvements in diversity. Some companies have already begun to do this to both show that this is an issue they care about and that they are making measurable progress.

One example is the Facebook diversity report, which is released every year to demonstrate that the company is committed to making changes. This is one way of building their brand even further than before.

Data can also be used to overcome the gender gap through testing out new solutions and determining whether they are successful or not. Only through leveraging data can new initiatives be tried with confidence.

Encourage Women to Be Mentored

One way that companies can improve their online reputation and remove the potential for outside defamation, they should consider starting mentorship programs. One report said that a tiny number of women have mentors throughout America. They are usually forced to do everything by themselves, in stark contrast to the position of men.

To close the workplace gender gap, women have to feel as if they have the same chances as men to succeed. With so few options to help educate women at this point, it’s no surprise to see women not getting the representation they deserve.

Women have to feel as if they have a realistic chance of success if they are to be convinced to push forward with their ambitions.

Create an Equal Culture

Startups that want to promote the advancement of women are doing a good thing. The problem is that a lot of them are doing it within a culture that’s against their ambitions. They are not operating in a culture that’s equal. Startups have to be able to take the initiative and provide a culture that symbolizes equality.

This begins with the basic issue of pay. A man and a woman doing the same job for the same time should be paid exactly the same. It’s not a complex issue and there’s no reason why this should be an issue. And yet so many startups don’t do this.

You should also go out of your way to hire more women. Nobody would seriously suggest that you hire a woman just to make up the numbers. Quotas are detrimental to business and are fundamentally unfair. You should always hire the best person for the job.

But the issue is not that men are always getting the jobs because hiring managers hate women. It’s because women often don’t get to an interview in the first place. They never get the chance to say what they can do and how they are going to do it.

Don’t hire someone based off their gender, but make an effort to bring some of them in for an interview. The chances are you’re going to be surprised at the options on the table.

A Slow and Gradual Change

You can take steps now to help promote the progress of women in the business world. But these are all going to be gradual changes. They are never going to happen overnight. You have to be able to commit to this for the long haul. Only when enough companies take this seriously will change begin to happen on a large scale.

The changes you can implement to make your business more accommodating to women don’t have to cost you any real time or money. They can be implemented simply through changing a few of your policies. That will enable you to succeed with this venture in the long-term.

With all this in mind, it’s time to start making alterations. What do you think is the best thing you can do for gender equality in your startup?

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AJ Agrawal is an entrepreneur, speaker, and writer. He is the CEO and Co-Founder at Alumnify Inc.

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