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Lahle Wolfe

Venture Capitalists: Sexist or Not?

By December 17, 2011

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In a maddening, and yet, oddly laughable article on Inc.com, Why You Can't Get Funding: It's Not Because You're a Woman, Christina DesMarais highlights a heated ongoing debate over whether or not women have a harder time getting funding to start tech businesses.

The instigator of all this back-and-forth blog-and-twitter face slapping?  A woman.

Business owner Penelope Trunk heated things up considerably when she wrote a guest column on TechCrunch in which she said, "the reason there are so few women founders is because they'd rather have babies."

On no she didn't!

Trunk also said she does not hear women complaining about hardships in getting venture capital.  Maybe she is not listening hard enough or only talks to men.

The piece later goes on to say Trunk had no trouble getting funding.  Trunk had no problems getting funding because sshe was already well connected but that does not mean other women are so fortunate.   Applying Trunk's ideology is akin to saying my favorite softdrink is Diet Coke, therefore it must be true for all women.

Interestingly, it was a man, who came to women's defense:  "Vivek Wadhwa--tech entrepreneur, academic, and known provocateur when it comes to the topic of women and tech start-ups--told a TEDxBayArea audience that he's talked with dozens of women in Silicon Valley who say potential investors treat them differently because of their gender, and they have to fend off questions about their reproductive plans, or what they'll do if their husband has to move because of his career. He also called Steve Jobs a sexist."

Steve Jobs was a man, and sexist or not, it does not surprise me when a man shows ignorance about women's challenges:  they do not walk in our shoes.  But when other women who have made it "big" accuse women who are struggling of being whiners who simply do things wrong that does get my dander up a little.

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