The Wominvest Observatory
The numbers are shocking only 2% of all VC capital is invested in women-led companies with Covid-19, such a number dropped by almost half (Teare, 2020). The complexity requires action in a wide range of domains, from education to specific funds and fund conditions, from mobilising role models and removing barriers to skilling, supporting, and facilitating female entrepreneurs. The wide range of actions includes collecting better data, stimulating and increasing the number of female students in STEM studies and participation in digital professions, as well as increasing the number of women in leading positions in VC’s, providing incentives to invest in women led companies and changing investment decision criteria and processes. The World Economic Forum estimates that it takes another century to close the gender pay gap. The EU has a responsibility and should take a leading role to significantly speed up the process.
The Wominvest Observatory report and the debates contribute by putting the issues on the agenda, raising awareness, bringing together all stakeholders and turning the debate into more concrete areas of action. The Covid-19 pandemic has an enormous impact on our society and economy, but it also offers a historic opportunity to accelerate the gender equality agenda as the resulting Recovery and Resilience Facility, if spent wisely, can be used as a major lever for change. The inequality in access to finance is not only an ethical issue, but also an economic one. Women are 50% of the population and 30% of start-ups are female led (Fackelmann, De Concini & Dustdar, 2020, p.12). The current level of investment means that a large portion of our economic and growth capacity is significantly underused, and the needed further diversification of our economies beyond sectorial diversification, comes to a halt, which is likely to have a negative impact on its resilience.