Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Women-Led Start Ups Have Fewer Failures, What Does that Actually Mean?

Local developer and entrepreneur Alicia Liu recently reflected on recent research that said women-run startups are generally more successful:
So these women, on top of an already gruelling process of pitching and due diligence, had to overcome additional obstacles, including investor bias. So wouldn’t it make sense that this additional selection, though unfair, means that only the very best women are able to get funding and grow their businesses to successful exits? Viewed like this, the study results are not surprising.
To me, the additional selection imposed on women through overt and subtle stereotypes, biases, and differential treatment contributes to fewer women in male-dominated fields, like running a tech start up, but it also results in higher quality. This is analogous to survival of the fittest.
What do you think? Do the women running these startups just happen to be better than average because they were the ones tough enough (or smart enough, or whatever quality you want to insert here) to make it? Is the same true of women in highly male-dominated fields like computer science and engineering in general?