Many Startup Founders Doubt Extent of Sexual Harassment


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There’s some cognitive dissonance in startup-land. The nationwide concentrate on sexual harassment, assault, and retaliation arguably began in Silicon Valley, with Susan J. Fowler’s account of discrimination and harassment at Uber in February. All year long, accounts of misconduct had been revealed at startups and enterprise corporations, inflicting quite a few high-profile buyers and CEOs to resign. The checklist of disgraced tech males is lengthy: Justin Caldbeck, Dave McClure, Mike Cagney, Chris Sacca, Marc Canter, Shervin Pishevar, Andy Rubin, Amit Singhal, Steve Jurvetson.

Every revelation has prompted requires change. But a brand new survey carried out by enterprise agency First Spherical Capital means that startup founders nonetheless have a protracted solution to go in relation to acknowledging and addressing the issue. The survey polled greater than 800 startup founders, 17 % of whom recognized as feminine. In keeping with the survey, greater than half of startup founders have skilled or know somebody who has skilled sexual harassment within the office. A full 78 % of the ladies surveyed answered sure to the query.

But 19 % of respondents stated the issue of sexual harassment in tech has been overblown by the media; males had been 4 occasions extra prone to say this than ladies. Greater than 40 % stated the other—that the issue is extra vital than the media is reporting. There’s an irony right here: The primary factor startup founders say they search for in an investor is sweet character.

Concerning the shortage of range, 42 % blamed the oft-cited “pipeline downside,” claiming tech’s dismal range stats are attributable to a scarcity of girls and minorities coming into the trade. Unconscious bias got here in second, adopted by poor school recruiting into STEM.

There’s not a lot settlement between the genders on what needs to be achieved. The ladies surveyed believed the issue will be solved with extra feminine enterprise capitalists and strain from restricted companions. The boys surveyed named sensitivity coaching and extra media protection as the very best options. (Either side agreed that decency pledges are ineffective.)

Surprisingly, solely 17 % of these surveyed stated they’ve a proper plan or coverage to advertise range and inclusion at their corporations, up solely barely from 14 % in First Spherical’s survey final yr. Nearly all of respondents stated they’ve casual methods, and 16 % stated that they had no plans to undertake any coverage to advertise range and inclusion.

Which may be why practically a 3rd of respondents consider it’ll take greater than 20 years for the tech workforce to be consultant of the final inhabitants in relation to race and gender. First Spherical Capital stated some respondents complained that the query did not have an choice to reply “by no means,” from those that do not suppose the trade is on a trajectory to ever obtain parity.

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