How can female tech entrepreneurs be as successful as their male counterparts?

When you think of successful people in the technology industry, you immediately think of names like Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. It is noticeable that there are only men who come to mind who have managed to be successful in the tech business. If you look at the list of the richest people in the world this is backed up. Female tech entrepreneurs are not less intelligent or educated as their male counterparts. But why are men more successful in what they’re doing and what could women do to get more investments?

1. Women care too much about the opinion of others.

For most women, it is very important what others think about them. Instead of concentrating on their strengths, their path and their possibilities, many women miss opportunities because they are afraid not to please others. They care too much about what others might think about them. The thought of standing alone with an idea can be unsettling to them. Most women feel more comfortable knowing that they are not the only ones with this opinion and that they have people behind them.

For most women, negotiation is also often unpleasant and they do not want to be seen by others as too greedy or impertinent. They find it more difficult to do the best for them without paying attention to the opinions of others. It is by no means a bad quality to pay attention to others. However, it is important to not be afraid of the opinions of others and still be able to assert one’s interests to reach your goals.

2. Men have more confidence.

Most men are aware of what they can do. They find it easier to admit what they’re good at. Women are more likely to know what they can’t do. For example, studies have shown that women would only apply for a vacancy if there was a 90 or 100 per cent match. For men, 50 per cent would be enough. Women are more cautious when it comes to what they can accomplish. According to Anke van Beekhuis, founder of TheRedHouse, Institute for Sustainable Corporate Development, the reason for this lies in socialisation. “We women became so socialised, caring and reserved.”, she said. Women who openly show what they can do and what they own are not really accepted in society.

Women often ask: “Don’t you think I should wait a few more years before asking for a raise?” The immediate feeling of doubt and of being under-qualified when it is time to evaluate their performance and value creates an added level of anxiety for a lot of women.

Men find it easier to present themselves confidently. This also allows them to argue better for themselves and their proposals without showing self-doubt. In turn, men are more likely to receive investments as they find it easier to persuade others as they have 100% conviction that what they are doing is correct.

3. Women take fewer risks.

Women have different demands on their working environment than men. According to the Accenture study, a stable job is the most important thing for every fifth woman. Women often do not dare to change jobs, even if they would get more money from someone else. They would rather change the job for other reasons like lack of recognition, a bad working atmosphere or the lack of opportunities to develop their careers.

They often don’t dare to take the next step. For example, sixteen per cent of men say that they want to start their own business compared to only twelve per cent of women. They’re more concerned with security than risk. The possible consequences always seem more present to them. Women are more likely to pay more attention to the cons of a situation than the pros. That’s why they prefer to settle for less instead of trying something new, especially if it involves risk. But success always involves some risks. If you want to be successful in the tech industry, you have to try different things, even if you could fail. But if you don’t try, you’ve already failed.

4. Men ask for more.

Studies have proven that men are less afraid to ask for a salary increase or a higher position in the company. Women, therefore, ask less frequently for a promotion (14 versus 26 per cent) or a salary increase (32 versus 48 per cent). But women are no less ambitious. They want success just as much as men do, but have inhibitions to demand too much. It is just as unpleasant for them to justify the required budget to investors. Many women don’t want to look rude and therefore don’t ask at all or ask too little. They don’t think they have the necessary qualifications or doubt them. To gain investment you have to be confident in yourself otherwise why should the investors have confidence in you. This lack of confidence leads to many women asking for lower investments than what they need so to not look greedy, unlike their male counterparts. There is no reason why as a woman you cannot be courageous and act confidently towards investors and superiors and set high demands.

5. Women are better at negotiating for others.

From a young age, girls are socialised to be nice and more in touch with their own, and other people’s feelings. This hesitancy appears to carry on into adulthood, with women generally being more understanding and looking to appear collaborative and cooperative, even if it doesn’t help them in the situation to do so.

Studies have highlighted the fact that women tend to perform better when they are negotiating for others. This is shown by female politicians in the US routinely securing better financial outcomes for their electorate than their male counterparts.  Research from Harvard University confirms this as it observed that female executives secure higher bonuses for their team than their male colleagues. It is because women feel a bigger sense of responsibility towards others, to suggest that they feel more motivated to push if others are relying on them. So it might help to imagine how others could benefit if you move up in the company or get a high investment.

It isn’t a fact that men have greater skill sets than women however it is a fact that the most successful tech business people in the world are men. This shouldn’t be the case. We understand that not all women have these problems however it is statistically proven and backed up by research. This needs to change and there is nothing stopping it. It’s not because women can’t, but they have to believe they can.

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