It’s 2020 and tech still sucks at diversity – here’s how we fix it

The tech industry, which is ironically synonymous with innovation and progress, has a deep-rooted problem: A lack of diversity. 

It’s a well-known fact that male entrepreneurs tend to raise more money for their startups than their female counterparts.

According to Atomico’s State of European Tech 2019 report, which polled over 1,200 founders across Europe, nearly a quarter of respondents said they had experienced discrimination on factors ranging from ethnicity to age. 

As part of its research, the venture capital firm also asked founders whether they had raised external cash or bootstrapped their companies. Some 21% of the respondents were female, but worryingly they only made up 15% of those who raised funds.

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Unfortunately, the situation is even more dire in some countries. In the Netherlands, for example, less than 1% of all investment in startups over the past 10 years went to female-led teams, and only 5% to mixed teams. This needs to change.

While it’s important to recognize that diversity as a term is far more complex than we often give it credit for — it’s fair to say that the narrative around the diversity gap is largely focused on gender.

Making a difference

In order for things to improve, we have to ask ourselves how we can boost diversity rates across the industry and, importantly, how we can measure this change.

“Diversity doesn’t last unless people with diverse backgrounds feel valued for their distinctive skills, experiences, and perspectives. What you don’t measure you cannot improve, Clare Sutcliffe, co-founder of SheWins, told Growth Quarters.

Sutcliffe went on to note that C-suite executives at companies should wholeheartedly and publicly lead the vision of creating a diverse team for the benefit of the business and its employees.

It’s also important to be practical about implementing a successful strategy. “Set aside time and budget and make the changes required across the whole business in order to build a diverse team and ensure that all team members feel included in the life of the business,” she advised entrepreneurs.