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Crowdfunding: the key platform for budding female entrepreneurs




The crowdfunding phenomenon, which has dramatically changed the way businesses and individuals raise capital could now become a catalyst for the success and growth in female entrepreneurs and female-owned businesses.

A recent study has revealed that crowdfunding- an internet-enabled provision of financial resources- not only reduces barriers faced by female funders/entrepreneurs seeking capital, but shows that female led pitches are out performing male led pitches.

Jason Greenberg of New York University and Ethan Mollick of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, found that women-led-ventures (particularly technology based firms) were more likely to reach their funding goals than male led-ventures. More specifically, 65 per cent of all female-led tech startups reached their funding goals through using a crowdsourcing platform, versus just 30 per cent of male-led tech start ups. Furthermore, outside the tech industry female-led ventures prevailed. Overall, 37 per cent of all female-led ventures (using crowdfunding) were funded compared to 32 per cent of male led ventures.

This is a stark contrast to funding success rates via traditional methods. An MIT study conducted in 2013 found that investors preferred entrepreneurial pitches presented by male entrepreneurs compared with pitches by female entrepreneurs, even when the content of the pitch was the same. When analysing three years’ worth of entrepreneurial pitch competitions (where applicants pitch their venture idea to angel investors) researchers found male applicants were 60% more likely to receive funding for these. Furthermore outside of crowdfunding, female-led companies have received only 7% of all venture capital funding in the United States in the last year.

So why the disparity in funding success? Both studies believe unconscious gender bias to be the culprit. Greenberg and Mollick believe that given a choice of whom to associate with, we tend to […]

Gender Equality at the Forefront of Hilary Clinton’s Economic Policy



This was a big week in the world of American politics, with the current candidates competing for the 2016 presidential race giving their first major domestic policy speech. The first of these were heard this Monday night, when Democratic front-runner Hilary Clinton took to the stand in New York to voice her economic vision.

A key aspect of this vision  was in relation to gender equality. This is hardly surprising given Clinton’s long political history championing  ‘women issues’.  In her speech Clinton declared that America is limiting it’s own potential due to the barriers preventing more women entering and staying in the workforce.

“We  need to break down the barriers so more Americans can participate more fully in the workforce, especially women….we are in a global competition and we can’t afford to leave talent on the sidelines”  she said.

Full-time employment increased from 28.6 per cent of all women in 1979 to 43.6 per cent in 2007, before declining to 40.7 per cent in 2012. Similarly, in statistics that she referenced in her speech, Clinton claimed that in 1990 the U.S ranked 7th among 24 developed countries in women’s labour force participation, but that their ranking has now dropped to 19th.

Clinton presented the scenario of a single mother balancing full time work and community college, highlighting the need for affordable childcare, and a grandmother who watches children for a living but cannot afford to fill her own prescriptions, weakening the effect of providing the childcare in the first place.

She also highlighted wage disparity: that the average American woman makes 78 cents for every dollar earned by men.

All of these barriers negatively impact on the level women can contribute to the workforce, which consequently has negative impacts on America’s economy. […]

Australian Government is the sixth worst in the world for gender balance according to recent report from OECD


Over the last month VM Learning have been reporting on the decreasing rate of female representation on Australia’s government boards and this week is no different, with both the Sydney Morning Herald and Brisbane Times announcing our current government is the sixth worst in the world for gender balance.

Both newspapers have cited a recent report released by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), which revealed that the gap between women and men in ministerial positions in Australia has actually worsened since 2012, despite the targets set in place by previous government policy.

Furthermore, the report claimed that Australia now has fewer women in its highest ranks of government than every OECD country except for Greece, Korea, Turkey, Hungary and Slovakia. Even the two countries the OECD are currently considering to join its organisation- Latvia and Columbia-have far higher female representation within their government, as shown by the graph below.


So why do these statistics matter? Surely the most important thing is appointing the right candidates for the job, rather than appointing parliament members based on gender?

However the OECD argues that this is precisely why these statistics do matter. In a statement made within their report, OECD claimed that a more representative public administration provides the administration with access to “previously overlooked” knowledge and perspectives.

Meanwhile there are multiple studies indicating that companies with more women on their boards out perform non-diverse companies in regards to productivity, employee morale and overall business performance. In fact The Credit Suisse Gender 3000: Women in Senior Management report released last year, showed that from the beginning of 2012 to mid-way through 2014, companies with at least one woman on their board outperformed non-diverse companies by 5%.

This doesn’t mean that […]

Chance of New Gender Equality Bill Being Granted for Australian Government Boards

A bill introduced by independent senator Nick Xenophon which seeks to legislate 40 per cent representation by women on government boards, is now working it’s way through the government system. It is important not to become prematurely excited by this prospect; the coalition hasn’t given it a tick. Nor however, has it been publicly argued against.

This may be because this 40 per cent quota isn’t radically different to what’s already in place, from a practical perspective. Thanks to the previous government’s policy to implement a 40 per cent target for female membership of federal government boards- the number is already pretty close at 38 per cent.

This begs the question, why legislate?According to Xenophon there is evidence that the proportion of women on government boards has slipped since 2013, when the policy was first in place. He argues there is a real risk that unless legally fortified this number could slip further. In 2012-2013, 13 of 18 government boards met the target (40% of each gender with 20% wiggle room) but in 2013-2014 only nine boards met this goal. Furthermore, the biggest decline in the number of women on boards since 2013, was in the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio, where 41.2% female board representation plunged to 29.4%.

“ What concerns us is what happens in 2015 and 2016- unless attention is paid to arresting this decline it could very easily blow out to 6-10% where it will become exponentially harder to arrest” Xenophon’s associate and executive director of the Women on Boards committee, Claire Braund said earlier this year.

However the main purpose of this legislation is for this 40 per cent quota to have a flow on effect within Australia’s leading corporations. Currently less than […]