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?!

Trends: Companies Expanding Maternity/Paternity Leave Policies

Netflix 2014 logo (Under Consideration)

Netflix 2014 logo (Under Consideration)

A very positive trend has sprung up recently: Companies are their expanding parental leave policies. The main goal is to recruit more women with work-life balance policies, and to retain talent by allowing time off for family matters. Because trouble at home often means distracted employees and lower productivity. (I feel like that’s on a modern-day Mather Work Incentive poster somewhere.)

Big strides have been made this year: Consulting powerhouse Accenture bumped up its maternity leave policy to 16 weeks in March, which applies to both full-time and part-time employees. In April, Johnson & Johnson announced a new eight-week paid leave policy. In June, major bank Goldman Sachs began offering new fathers and “non-primary caregivers” four weeks of paid leave. (The company currently offers 16 weeks of paid maternity leave.) The U.S. Navy and Marines mandated an 18-week maternity leave policy, effective immediately, in July.

This trend has become especially prevalent in the tech industry, with a lot of changes occurring just this past month. In August, Microsoft recently announced a new parental leave policy, in which employees would get paid at 100% of their salary for 12 weeks. New mothers will have eight weeks of paid maternity leave, which, combined with disability leave, could entitle them to 20 weeks of paid leave.

Adobe’s policy also changed: Mothers will now receive 26 weeks of paid leave, up from the nine weeks off from the previous policy. It’ll be a combination of medical leave (10 weeks) and paternal leave (16 weeks).

Netflix announced they’re bumping up their maternity and paternity leave policies to an unlimited amount of time. New mothers and fathers are allowed to take as much time off as they like during a child’s first year, whether though birth or adoption. (Netflix isn’t a stranger to expanding time off: Employees already get unlimited vacation time.) But the policy isn’t all inclusive: It only applies toward salaried employees, so hourly workers aren’t able to take advantage of it.

It’ll be interesting to see if (when) other companies follow suit, and if paid parental leave will eventually be federally mandated. These are definitely steps in the right direction.