The gender gap in the digital community – a challenge ahead

March 8, 2023
Digital community

As this year’s International Women’s Day theme is “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”, we want to celebrate the valuable contributions women have made to advance innovation and technology through entrepreneurship. However, it’s critical that we draw attention to the gender gap that still remains when it comes to ICT (Information, Computers and Technology) and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). 

Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) showed in its 2021/2022 Women’s Entrepreneurship Report that only 2,7% of women entrepreneurs surveyed worldwide are starting businesses in ICT compared to 4.7% of men. Likewise, according to UN Women, only 22% of people working on Artificial Intelligence globally are women. Referring to funding, facts reveal that in the U.S. startups with all-women teams received significantly fewer VC funds (1,9%) than mixed-gender (17,2%). If It just happens that 50% of global talent is female, these figures give food for thought.

GEM report suggests that enabling environment for women entrepreneurs is very poorly rated in most countries, which may explain why women have a slightly lower perception of entrepreneurship as a career choice compared to men. Lack of access to finance for women may also be a contributing factor. Despite the fact that research shows that startups founded or co-founded by women perform better, generating 10% more in a five-year period, historically, less than 5% of VC funding has gone to women entrepreneurs. 

Women are a source of untapped potential. That’s why we should empower, promote and support women in innovation and entrepreneurship. We can do that by dismantling gender stereotypes, facilitating access to education and promoting women leaders. 

Led by our Membership, who actively engages in the conversation on gender diversity in entrepreneurship, the Allied for Startups 2023 Mandate included women and underrepresented groups in tech, STE(A)M education programs, and talent and diversity as policy priorities at a global level. With diversity and inclusion as a core value at AFS, we will keep advocating for an inclusive entrepreneurial landscape that allows for the global 50% female talent to be represented and enabled to start up.