In a blog post on Medium, serial entrepreneur Sarah Nadav has a simple request to VCs considering funding her startup: Please, don’t compare her to your wife.
“Investors, you should know that the only thing that I have in common with your wife is a vagina,” she writes, “You need to know that because the women who are sitting in front of you to pitch are Entrepreneurs – and we are a totally different breed of human being than just about anyone else.”
Nadav details anecdotal evidence she’s experienced as a female entrepreneur pitching in the tech industry, where billions of dollars flow in deals around the world. The crux of the argument is simple: some male VCs have a hard time contextualizing women in business without framing them as similar to the women in their lives, who may be perfectly happy as stay-at-home-mothers. This context, of course, hinders women who are serious about their businesses.
“You might not realize it, but you compare us to your wives out loud all the time,” she explains. “And we cringe while you do it, and we talk about it with each other, and would like to tell you to STFU every single time but we can’t, because we want to get funded so we are nice to you.”
She also shared a text conversation with a VC who expressed a lack of faith in her efforts due to his “old school” mentality:
Nadav’s experience rings true in both the personal stories and wider statistics shown about woman in business and in the workplace. Tinsel CEO Aniyia Williams told TNW she hid her pregnancy when speaking with people who could help her company get off the ground because she expressed a real concern that male VCs would not take her determination seriously.
This goes well beyond the world of VCs and funding, as well: According to research offered in Facebook’s ‘Managing Bias’ workshop, women who openly allude to motherhood on their resumes have a lesser likelihood of being hired and get paid statistically lower.
Perhaps worse, women who are perceived as “bad mothers” (i.e. skipping a child’s ballet recital to finish a crucial project) can take a hit to their likability at work. Meanwhile, women who are perceived as “good mothers” and involved in their kids’ lives are more likely to be considered less loyal to a workplace and also take a hit.
It’s continuing food for thought about how men can help mediate the obvious gender gap in the workplace in the United States — especially in Silicon Valley, where there is added pressure to create the best workplace practices for the future.
Naysayers, however, haven’t affected Nadav’s success.
— Sarah Nadav (@sarahnadav) February 15, 2016