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The good, the bad, and the exceptional of women in tech in 2018: As seen by 5 European female founders

The good, the bad, and the exceptional of women in tech in 2018: As seen by 5 European female founders

One other yr has come to an finish and it’s about time we sum up the great, the dangerous, and the distinctive of the previous 365 days. Simply in time for our New Yr’s resolutions, it’s our civic obligation to mirror on an important problems with the previous yr, together with the empowerment (and mistreatment) of girls within the office.

The subject has been trending not solely in Hollywood however in all places on the earth, with ladies popping out with highly effective, inspiring tales and males fiercely becoming a member of the trigger – or being unreasonably terrified by it.

Both means, nobody can ignore the huge resonance of the #metoo phenomenon. The motion and the hashtag completed a lot, on so many ranges in 2018. From exposing sexual predators to banning songs, from campaigning for a makeover of magnificence pageants to difficult the US Supreme Courtroom’s nomination, the motion has manifested in a variegated and groundbreaking method.

2018 adopted within the footsteps of 2017, the yr through which the motion was launched and the silence was damaged. Within the face of the general public outcry that began pouring out on social media, not even worldwide establishments might stay silent and appeared to have used this time to got down to proper a couple of, macroscopic wrongs.

In November 2017, for instance, the European Fee introduced actions to scale back the gender pay hole, referred to as for preparations to facilitate the adoption of the directive on gender stability within the largest listed corporations, and inspired governments and social companions to undertake measures to enhance gender stability in decision-making.

As proven by these initiatives and documented within the  2018 report on equality between men and women within the EU the #metoo period has additionally shaken the sexist foundations of Europe. As this yr’s report demonstrates, the #metoo cascade impact has allowed for authorized measures to be adopted by a number of Member States that launched quotas that considerably improved the ratio of girls at prime positions.

Because the contribution of girls in enterprise turns into extra seen, a brand new research by BCG’s evaluation finds that startups based or co-founded by ladies carried out higher than male-founded startups over time – and this regardless of them being comparatively underfunded.

The truth that ladies carry out properly as entrepreneurs and beneath circumstances of self-employment is no surprise and has a number of, statistically sound explanations. It has to do with a systemic drawback at subordinate employment ranges, which causes the variety of feminine staff to dramatically lower within the greater ranks of organisations.

For the ladies who fill the ranks of European tech startups, nevertheless, the script is usually flipped. The truth is, not solely do ladies founders and CEOs really feel usually extra assured in taking over positions of management – as our interviews clearly reveal – however they’re truly provided extra prospects to thrive and are extra quite a few than ever earlier than.

Listed here are the testimonies of 5 ladies founders, self-starters, and startuppers who’re difficult the established order and the male-dominated tech business with a brand new algorithm.

Bozena Rezab


Bozena has 15 years of expertise in advertising and know-how companies, coming from high-adrenaline roles at startups, media, and tech corporations. She is now the CEO and co-founder of the main gaming startup GAMEE, based in Prague in 2014.

“It’s a nice time for ladies to enter the business”

Working in a male-dominated business such because the tech business isn’t straightforward, however, Bozena tells us that recently she sees “Increasingly ladies becoming a member of the gaming business throughout many roles, from designers to firm leaders and founders.”

Nevertheless, her expertise within the male-dominated office is all however discriminatory. “It was, in reality, the other,” she stated. “As many corporations promote variety and provides precedence to having a various group, it’s a nice time for ladies to enter the business.”

Although Bozena acknowledges that there nonetheless is unconscious bias relating to gender, she urges different ladies to cease limiting themselves when it comes to gender: “You’re a founder and a lady, these are two totally different roles and you may definitely have each. ‘Lady founder’ – that doesn’t actually imply something to me.”

Sofia Fenichell


Sofia is the CEO and founding father of Mrs Wordsmith, an revolutionary vocabulary platform that applies knowledge science and Hollywood creativity to rework the best way youngsters study and enhance their lexicon. Mrs. Wordsmith, a venture-backed edtech startup, is creating the world’s most progressive vocabulary program.


“Rent slowly and get to know individuals”

Based on Sofia, “Creating alternatives is instantly correlated to the power of your concept.” To her, constructing a workforce is probably the most difficult a part of a enterprise if you find yourself a lady, as a result of it implies “Bringing on board individuals who have predispositions and biases. Hiring and managing as a lady has its personal set of challenges that have to be discovered and addressed.”

From her experiences, she has a phrase of recommendation for the ladies who need to take the lead and have to have their voices heard by their subordinates: “My recommendation is to rent slowly and get to know individuals. Be decisive and early when the chemistry just isn’t there.”

Polina Frolova-Montano


Polina is the co-founder and Head of International PR/Model Advertising at JOB TODAY, based mostly in Luxembourg. JOB TODAY is Europe’s main cellular hiring app that helps companies discover employees inside 24 hours. Since its launch in 2015, the corporate has attracted over 400okay companies to the platform, processed over 100 million job purposes, and introduced on board world-class buyers reminiscent of Accel, Mangrove, Felix, and Flint.

Paolina’s job is to leverage know-how to vary the methods individuals discover jobs, making hiring simpler by connecting employers to out there candidates in a matter of minutes, from the consolation of a cellular system.

“I basically consider that ladies have been born to be entrepreneurs”

HR tech is totally different from many different tech sectors when it comes to gender. Polina explains: “HR tech is an excellent business to be in to be trustworthy, because it presents one of the best of each worlds: the HR sector which is usually female-dominated and the IT sector the place males nonetheless characterize nearly all of the workforce.”

Polina additionally says she has by no means been discriminated towards as a result of she is a lady. Quite the opposite, she says she thinks that ladies are pure entrepreneurs: “I’ve by no means felt any distinction in remedy or consideration as a result of I’m a lady. I basically consider that ladies have been born to be entrepreneurs. We now have a pure predisposition to tackle a number of roles, to imagine totally different obligations. Speaking, managing conflicts, organizing, scheduling and so forth. These are duties that we feature out each day in our personal lives and we will subsequently simply apply these expertise to our workplace lives.”

On the subject of giving recommendation to different ladies startup founders with a purpose to fight discrimination she has inspirational phrases: “As a common rule – any founder, feminine or male – shouldn’t hesitate to ask for assist. Neither ought to we dwell on what individuals assume or anticipate from us. To be an entrepreneur, you must be a bit bit loopy anyhow – as constructing your enterprise is a dangerous and unpredictable path, it doesn’t matter in case you are male or feminine. The one limits we impose on ourselves are in our heads. I actually love this quote by one profitable feminine entrepreneur in Hollywood (show-business is taken into account a male-dominated business as properly): ‘If it has been completed – in fact you are able to do it. And if it has not been finished – you need to do it!’.”

Julie Walters

julie walters

Julie is an entrepreneur who based her third enterprise, Raremark, in 2015. Based mostly in London, Raremark helps households affected by a uncommon illness discover helpful info and connections. Julie works within the historically male-dominated world of drug improvement, which, she says is “Scientific and technical, with many regulatory hurdles to leap.”

Biotech is a really aggressive world, although not essentially unique. Julie notes: “Few ladies appeal to funding on this area, however I can’t say that I’ve personally ever skilled sexism.”


“Construct a group at residence and at work to help you on the journey”

Nevertheless, based on Julie’s expertise gender stability in her sector continues to be removed from being realised: “Not many ladies take the dangers to arrange a enterprise and appeal to expertise and funding [in this industry] as a result of it’s an inherently dangerous enterprise. They know that it’ll take a toll on their household and their funds: you actually need to be extraordinarily passionate concerning the change that you simply need to scale a enterprise and have numerous help at house. My recommendation can be to construct a workforce at house and at work to help you on the journey – then seize the chance, overcome the challenges that you’ll inevitably face, study from the method and be prepared to take heed to the counsel of others extra skilled than you.”

Lydia Yarlott


Lydia is the co-founder of Ahead Well being, a startup whose objective is to attach healthcare groups all over the world, and empower well being professionals to spend extra time with their sufferers, doing the issues that matter.

Based in 2016 in London, Ahead was talked about as no. 2 in “The UK’s Hottest Healthtech Startups”, 70 Methods to Save the NHS, featured on ITV and BBC information, and profiled in The Occasions, The Guardian, Forbes, and The Telegraph.

Lydia, like Bozena, recognises that the know-how business is male dominated, nevertheless, “This isn’t to say there aren’t some unimaginable ladies on the market doing superb issues – it’s simply that classically know-how has appealed to males greater than to ladies. Take the gaming world, for instance.”

“Planning your life and profession with militant precision could be efficient, however it can by no means really shock you. Be open to no matter comes your approach and do your greatest with it.”

She provides that one thing is altering in tech and new expertise at the moment are vital because the market evolves. Ladies may be the proper match to fill the hole: “I consider this (predominance of males over ladies in tech) is more likely to change as know-how has an more and more ‘human’ face – take Alexa, or the newest courting app. These applied sciences require a fusion of various types of instinct and talent to be efficient and to actually take off, and that is certainly the place organisations with a excessive degree of variety will win out.”

Lydia additionally factors out that on the subject of sexism within the office, feminine solidarity is vital: “I’m fortunate sufficient to say that I haven’t confronted sexism in my sector; in reality, ladies in know-how are more and more celebrated, and I really feel strongly about encouraging different ladies to enter the area. There’s a lot occurring in know-how that’s altering our lives so quickly that all of us want to interact with it, notably in areas the place it issues most, like well being, schooling and group.”

Lastly, even when issues don’t pan out the best way they have been presupposed to, she suggests you attempt to discover the brilliant aspect: “Somebody as soon as gave me some excellent recommendation, which I might paraphrase as, somewhat than attempt in the direction of success shunning all different distractions, see these distractions as alternatives in themselves, and seize them, even when beforehand you didn’t assume you’d or might. Planning your life and profession with militant precision might be efficient, however it is going to by no means really shock you. Be open to no matter comes your method and do your greatest with it. I by no means anticipated to work in tech or be a co-founder of a healthcare firm, however I don’t look again now. And if you end up outnumbered, by age, faith, ethnicity, background or gender, keep in mind that you’re more likely to maintain a set of distinctive opinions and values that everybody can study from, so use them to your benefit and shock the individuals round you!”

In conclusion, whereas we will’t assist however discover that the majority interviewees nonetheless lament a notable lack of girls in enterprise and in positions of powers, the overall image drawn by them appears to be constructive. Additionally they appear to verify that increasingly more feminine entrepreneurs belonging to the 2018 European startup tech ecosystem are positively acutely aware of their management expertise and really feel usually empowered and non-threatened by their male counterparts.

Whereas we hope that subsequent yr brings much more progress in gender points and that new leaders take the phrases of recommendation of our interviewees and battle again inequalities, we will already draw a number of conclusions and debunk one single pernicious fantasy. As these interviews have demonstrated, in 2018 not solely do ladies in tech generate profits, create jobs, and alter the world as we all know it, however they even take a while off their busy schedule to lend different ladies a serving to hand once they want it probably the most.

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