Gender inequality in silicon valley

Silicon Valley is well-known as a bastion of digital technology. Oakland, California-based digital ecosystem analysis specialists Startup Genome ranks this region located around San Francisco as the world’s leading startup ecosyst em in 2018, a status it has held for the last three years running, if not longer.  However, workforce diversity is clearly not one of the criteria used to arrive at this ranking. Certain sections of the population are generally under-represented in the Valley, whatever the hierarchical position we are talking about. And this is certainly the case for half of humanity: the half known as ‘women’.

Out of 22 major companies based in the San Francisco Bay area that have published  demographic data on their workforce, only one has attained gender parity. Similarly, the proportion of women among the employees of 500 digital technology enterprises headquartered in the Bay area that employ less than 100 staff works out at only between 17% and 24%. Moreover, the proportion of female directors at Northern California tech firms is even lower. A survey on Gender Diversity carried out in 2016 by tech-oriented  law firm Fenwick & West  revealed that only 14.1% of the board members of the 150 biggest technology companies in Silicon Valley were women. Moreover, far fewer women than men set up their own businesses in this field: according to figures gathered by business statistics specialist Crunchbase, in 2017 just 17% of all startups in the area had at least one female founder.

So L’Atelier decided to go in search of these female movers and shakers. Whether US citizens or women of other nationalities, all our interviewees have one thing in common: they have all fulfilled their ambitions.

Some well-known and many less-known women are setting up businesses, coming up with creative ideas and contributing to the advancement of society. And by so doing, these inspiring women are opening the way to others. Every Thursday, we will be bringing you an article focusing on one of them and her exploits in Silicon Valley.

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Life @ work

Silicon valley women: Grace Kraaijvanger helps women carry out...

  • 23 Aug
    2018
  • 10 min

Our aim is to put these women in the spotlight and let them speak for themselves. We will find out all about the innovative work they have been doing, what it was that prompted them to undertake their project, what sort of obstacles they had to overcome, and – most importantly – what impact their innovation is likely to have and how they see the future in their particular field. In FinTech, Retail, Work Organisation, Mobility, FoodTech or GreenTech, some well-known and many less-known women are setting up businesses, coming up with creative ideas and contributing to the advancement of society. And by so doing, these inspiring women are opening the way to others. Every Thursday, we will be bringing you an article focusing on one of them and her exploits in Silicon Valley. As they say in this part of the world: stay tuned!

The first episode in our series will take us to Mill Valley, a quiet little town just north of San Francisco, where Grace Kraaijvanger has set up The Hivery, a bright, inspiring coworking space coupled with a community of women entrepreneurs who give each other mutual support and assistance. Following an early career as a professional ballet and modern dancer, then a spell in marketing, and after giving birth to two children, Grace embarked on her life project, based on her desire to help others to begin writing a new chapter in their existence and fulfil themselves. This should help to galvanise all those returning from their summer holidays in search of inspiration and new ideas to carry them through the latter part of the year.

By Sophia Qadiri
Managing Editor & Journalist