Only 17% of Startups Had a Female Founder in 2017

Whitney Wolfe, Founder of Bumble (Travel + Leisure)

Whitney Wolfe, Founder of Bumble (Travel + Leisure)

Quick, how many female founders of startups can you name (without Googling)? Let’s see, there’s Sophia Amoruso of NastyGal (RIP!), Whitney Wolfe of Bumble, Jenn Hyman of Rent the Runway, and…who else?

Contrast that with how many male startup founders you could name (Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, etc.) and you could go on for days. And that’s without Googling. And without naming their respective companies (Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, and Tesla, in case you’e wondering.)

Why can’t we name more female founders? Do they exist?

Well, yes and no. Crunchbase, a platform that crunches (heh) data for many companies around the world, has been running a study on female founders of start-ups since 2015. And what they found will SHOCK you.

Actually, no it won’t. Only 17% of startups had a female founder as of Q1 2017 (the last recorded study). 17 PERCENT. THIS IS NOT PARITY.

What makes this number worse is that this percentage has persisted since 2012. So women have only have the best seats at the table less than 1/5th of the time for 5 years.

Ladies, let’s start some companies!! Who’s with me?!

By The Numbers: Women Making Bank

Elizabeth Taylor in 'Cleopatra,' 1963 (Eclipse Magazine)

Elizabeth Taylor in ‘Cleopatra,’ 1963 (Eclipse Magazine)

Earlier this week, Ellen Pompeo became the highest-paid TV actress currently on TV, making $20M a year. How’d she do it? She asked for it. Also, she knew her worth.

Who else has made bank while breaking the glass ceiling? Let’s take a look!

First Female Millionaire:

Madam C.J. Walker built a beauty empire and had a net worth of $600K at the time of her death. Adjusted for inflation, that’s that’s $8,757,479.29 in November 2017 money.

First Female Billionaire:

Lifestyle entrepreneur Martha Stewart became a billionaire in 2000, the year after her company Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia went public.

First Black Female Billionaire:

Be honest: you thought this would be Oprah, didn’t you? So did I…until I actually googled it. No, this honor goes to Sheila Johnson. Johnson co-founded BET with her ex-husband Bob Johnson and went on to work in hospitality and real estate, and own minority stakes in three sports teams. Johnson first made the “Forbes” Billionaire List in 2000.

First Film Actress to be Paid $1M for a Role:

This would be the incomparable Elizabeth Taylor, who played the titular role in “Cleopatra” in 1963.

Highest-Paid Actress of 2017:

Emma Stone made the “Forbes” 2017 list of highest paid actors and actresses at $26M. However, she’s the highest-ranking actress at #15.

 

 

#ThrowbackThursday: Kim Kardashian West’s Kimoji Launch, 2015

Kim Kardashian West's Kimoji, 2015 (Kim Kardashian West)

Kim Kardashian West’s Kimoji, 2015 (Kim Kardashian West)

Kim Kardashian West’s set of custom emoji, dubbed “Kimoji,” launched on December 21, 2015. Nearly a year later, they continue to be a hit, and paved the way for other celebrities to launch their own custom emoji lines.

Kardashian West’s Kimoji references notable things about her which both hardcore and casual fans would recognize: her waist trainer corset, posing in her white swimsuit, and her notorious crying face.

#ThrowbackThursday: Kim Kardashian West, “Paper” Magazine, 2014

Kim Kardashian West, 'Paper' magazine 2014 (People)

Kim Kardashian West, ‘Paper’ magazine 2014 (People)

Remember when Kim Kardashian West broke the Internet? This was (not so far) back in 2014. She posed for Paper magazine. Cover shot: see above. Inside, the magazine featured shots of Kardashian West imitating a more famous photo and posing completely nude save for strands of her pearl choker (not a sexual metaphor).

Kardashian West didn’t get paid for her Paper photo shoot.

Though this wasn’t the first time Kardashian West posed nude, it was the time that everyone couldn’t stop talking about.

 

#ThrowbackThursday: Micheline Bernardini in a Bikini, 1946

Micheline Bernardini in a bikini (Culturify)

Micheline Bernardini in a bikini (Culturify)

You may not recognize Micheline Bernardini’s name, but you know her impact: Bernardini was the first woman ever to wear a bikini.

In 1946, French engineer Louis Reard cut up some fabric and sewed four triangles to get the first bikini. He wanted to announce his new invention to the world with a press conference. There was only one problem: he couldn’t find a woman willing to wear his creation. Reard eventually hired teenage exotic dancer Micheline Bernardini to model the bikini.

The bikini gets its name from Bikini Atoll, where nuclear weapons were tested on war artillery. The first test was completed five days before Reard announced his new sartorial creation.

Burkini Sales Rise by 200% After French Ban

Burkini designer Aheda Zanetti (Saudi Gazette)

Burkini designer Aheda Zanetti (Saudi Gazette)

Earlier this summer, coastal French towns courted controversy when their respective mayors decided to ban burkinis on beaches. The burkini consists of a long-sleeved top with long pants and a head covering, and was developed for women who follow Islamic modesty standards so that they could go swimming while still covered. The term “burkini” comes from a portmanteau of the words “burqa” and “bikini.”

Despite the ban, burkini creator Aheda Zanetti says that online sales of now-famous swimwear have risen over 200%+ recently. (Now, we don’t know what her sales had been previously, or what the year-over-year change has proved to be, so unfortunately we have incomplete information.)

Zanetti says that her customers are not homogeneously Muslim. She reports that about 40% of her customers are from other faith traditions, such as Judaism and Mormonism, that adhere to modest dress standards.

The burkini ban stems from a stringent French view on separating religion from the state. The French government has banned religious symbols from government buildings since 2004. A ban specifically on burqas was passed in 2011.

Right now, about 30 French towns have instituted the ban, though the town of Villeneuve-Loubet has since overturned it.

 

Twitter Announces Diversity Goals for 2016

Twitter logo (Design Trend)

Twitter logo (Design Trend)

Last week, Twitter announced its goals to diversify the company’s employees in 2016. The goals focused on increasing the presence of female and non-white employees. For the women, this includes reaching 35% women overall in the company, with 16% of tech roles going to women and 25% of leadership roles getting filled by women. For minorities, the goals are bringing the number to 11% in the overall company, with 9% of tech roles and 6% of leadership roles. Interestingly, the goals for minorities are marked with a literal asterisk, and apply to within the US only. (I’d like to know the reasoning behind that, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.)

This follows Twitter’s identifying and committing to diversity as a workplace issue. Last year, the company shared its diversity numbers. Spoiler alert (or not): it’s a whole lotta white dudes. While the company overall is about 70% male/30% female, it skews more guy-heavy in the tech section. Ethnically speaking, white and Asian employees comprise the largest portions, at nearly 60% and 30% respectively. Employees who self-identify as Hispanic or Latino or as Black or African-American make up only about 5% of the Twitter workforce.

Even though it looks like Twitter’s taking some big steps forward, Julia Greenberg at “Wired” points out that these steps are actually pretty small:

As it stands now, the company already has 34 percent women on its staff, with 13 percent in tech roles and 22 percent in leadership roles—not too far off from its goals. With 4,100 employees worldwide currently, the difference would be adding at least 41 women to reach its overall gender goal (though it would depend on the company’s growth).

Twitter is just the latest in a line of tech companies who’ve released their not-so-diverse data (following Facebook and Google, among others). It’ll be interesting to see how these goals will change due to supply and demand over time.