Earlier this week Mashable technology journalist Jolie O’Dell tweeted, “Women: Stop making start-ups about fashion, shopping & babies. At least for the next few years. You’re embarrassing me.” This created some commotion in the Tweetiverse amongst female entrepreneurs, some in agreement and some in absolute disagreement. The question of a pink ghetto for female entrepreneurs has been thrown around as more and more women start companies around these stereotypical feminine subjects, some of them great successes, like Rent the Runway, and some of them, gone in a second. But day after day we are talking about how women are not making enough progress as entrepreneurs in terms of funding and knowledge and now this woman is criticizing the ones who have succeeded? Not cool Jolie O’Dell.
Monica Murphy, Co-Founder of SoleMates, said:
“I don’t see anything wrong with women making a business about something about which they feel passionate. That’s what authenticity is all about. We should promote entrepreneurship in all of its forms – from the lemonade stand on the corner, to the hedge fund manager.”
Meghan Muntean, Co-Founder of ChickRX, an interactive health community for young women launching in private beta this fall.
“I get the frustration–in my perfect world, I’d want to see women-led start-ups flourishing across all industries (I also sometimes wonder when men will stop making start-ups about sports, data processing, and porn). But, hey, it’s wonderful thing when people apply their passions and personal frustrations to find ways to improve people’s lives and create viable businesses. So if women are passionate about babies and fashion and can identify voids in those markets, then I’d be disappointed to think that they aren’t creating businesses in those industries. Women are the drivers of revenue in these industries, so it’s about damn time they run them.”
It is not a pink ghetto for tech entrepreneurs it is just a lot of women that happen to be wearing pink talking about pink things. Why should a woman be criticized for providing for a female customer base? Doesn’t that give her a great advantage which we need considering we are fighting to move past the fact that women start ventures with eight times less funding than their male counterparts and only three of the 95 venture capitalists on the 7/19 list of “Top VCs” were women, according to TheFunded. That is the ghetto we need to get out of. Don’t criticize the women who are going to make the current statistic of only 10% of venture capitalists being females, increase.
Tara Hunt, Co-Founder & CEO of Buyosphere wrote for Women 2.0:
Because, well, it’s embarrassing because we are so few and there is so much hope pinned on our performance. We’ve been begging and screaming to get included and then we show up in high heels talking about designer snugglies and nail polish. Damn these women being all womeny talking about women stuff! Who invited these ones to the party? Where are the serious female entrepreneurs?
Right here. In high heels. Wearing
great nail polish (I swear by this stuff… it’ll extend your manicure for… never mind). I’m emotionally and intuitively navigating through this. And I’m dependent on more people than I feel comfortable with: my customers, my users, my co-founders, my advisors, my boyfriend, other startups, my friends, the weather, the economy… you name it.
Don’t tear women down for making progress and why is it bad if they are serving other women? Progress is progress, even in a pair of heels.