Diversity is vital in any industry, that goes without saying. Ideally, all groups should be equally represented in every aspect of life and business, however, in reality, that’s not always the case. According to a study by Crunchbase, in 2017 only 17% of the startups globally had at least one female founder. This is quite depressing in my opinion, there should be more female entrepreneurs.
What’s the best way to bridge that gap? By supporting and encouraging female entrepreneurs to follow their dreams. And since I’ve recently started working with entrepreneurs, I’ve decided to give you 5 different ways you can do just that:
Connecting is the first step to anything. Be open to meeting these women at events, through platforms or people in common and then take time to meet them online or offline. Prepare to be present and listen: listen for things in common and for ways you can help each other. At the end of the day, your goal here is to create a relationship, a deep connection with the person behind the screen or that coffee cup.
You see, there’s a reason I didn’t use the word “network” here - because networking doesn’t feel as personal, while my advice is to really connect with each other. And maybe even become friends! Who knows where this might go, but no matter how different your fields of work or experiences are, I guarantee that you can always find overlaps and share stories/advice.
2. Give honest and actionable feedback
This goes without saying: feedback is very important - but it has to be honest, otherwise there’s no point in giving it. And while the truth might not always be pretty or something we want to hear, there is something you can do to make it better for the other person: make it actionable.
What do I mean by that? I’ll give you an example: let’s say you’re trying to give feedback on somebody’s website and honestly it sucks. Instead of saying: “Your website is bad” or “Your website needs improvement”, give specific things the person can focus on. For example, you can say: “I think the structure of your website can be improved. Here’s how [insert specific advice] I think that can be achieved”.
Actionable feedback is great because the person knows what to improve and how to improve it. It lets you be honest, while not hurting the other person or criticizing their work. It gives them the opportunity to become better.
3. Recognise their achievements
Everybody sometimes needs recognition, even the most successful and accomplished people. Truly appreciating the achievements of others might be one of the best ways to strengthen their confidence and motivate them. Again, honesty is key here because people feel if you’re being authentic or not.
4. Share opportunities
If an opportunity comes up that you know might be beneficial for a female entrepreneur you know (or even somebody you don’t know personally but can reach out to), tell them about it! That won’t decrease the number of opportunities out there but might really change someone’s life. You never know what this turn might bring for them or for you, but sharing is definitely caring and that person will really value your kindness.
Which nicely leads me to my final point:
5. Community over competition
There’s a wonderful movement happening on social media, started by the incredible woman, Natalie Franke. It’s called #communityovercompetition which is all about sharing stories, resources, best practices and supporting each other. I’m a true believer that community doesn’t limit your opportunities, but in fact, it helps to make the pie bigger so that everybody can have a bigger slice.
Food metaphors aside, it’s a wonderful mindset to have. I think that the society makes us feel like we compete against each other all the time (especially women!) but our efforts are only amplified when we work together and help each other grow.
Do you know someone who is supporting other women and is helping to bridge the gender gap in the digital world? Or are you that person? Nominate yourself or your friend for the 2018 EQUALS in Tech Awards! They’re searching for cool projects and plans to help girls and women get equal access, skills, and opportunities online and in the tech industry. Winners get a paid trip to the awards ceremony on September 22 in New York City, but that’s not all. They also get to meet like-minded entrepreneurs, activists, teachers, and leaders. And they join an advisory panel that chooses future award winners.
Apply here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JCLXP5S
Hurry, nominations close on 20 July! #EQUALSinTech