It has been a little more than a hundred years since women were first given a voice in UK politics; yet the last couple of years have still demonstrated a real chasm in securing women’s equal footing within our society. The #metoo movement has highlighted the global vastness of sexual violence towards women and helped reopen an age-old dialogue about equality and respect. Yet, amid all of this, a nation seen as the beacon of Western values elected a president regardless of his “locker room” talk.
So how is the UK doing? Presently, 74% of UK companies still pay higher rates to their male staff and, worryingly, the number of women in Britain’s biggest company boardrooms has shrunk in 2018. The entrepreneurs building tomorrow’s products are mostly men and mostly white (I won’t lie, I’m one of them). Only 4% of Venture Capital funding to help build our future goes to women. That’s a staggering 96% of all funding to build our future going to projects founded by men, which could be due to the fact that 90% of decision makers at UK venture capital firms are men. (The creative industries are no better with 81% of decision makers being male.)
Of course, some of you will be tempted to argue that it’s because there are far fewer women entrepreneurs to fill those roles and raise that money – but this then becomes a self-perpetuating prophecy. Women won’t take the risks unless they are able to get the support and funding necessary to grow a successful company. Not only this, but it is harder for them to see themselves as capable of being in a role unless some of these roles are held by women.