There’s a reason I write a lot about women and tech. And it’s because if women do not take part in creating our future, we will never be equal. It doesn’t matter if we have parity in every other industry, if we do not have parity at the level of innovation, we will never be equal. We need to have just as much contribution on what technologies and software and industries define our world as white men.
It’s difficult, of course, when white men are still funding innovation, mostly because they refuse to recognize there is a problem. Nilofer Merchant reports how VC Ted Schlein, general partner at Kleiner Perkins, was recently invited to discuss race and investment in technology:
… all ears were tuned in when well-known VC Ted Schlein of Kleiner Perkins started talking… but Ted denied there was a problem. Despite the story the numbers tell — women receive less than three percent of all venture capital funding, and blacks even less than that — Ted said that the venture capital community was ‘color-blind’ and ‘operates fully on a meritocracy.’ This continued argument disregards the astounding facts that essentially 100 percent of funded founders are white or Asian, and 89 percent of founding teams are all-male.
But we know the technology industry, the current American Dream, is nowhere near a meritocracy. The industry itself is hollowing out the middle class and as one of Schlein’s peers, Sequoia Capital’s Sir Michael Moritz, said just last week, “If you’re not like us, it’s tough.”