Study: Huge Gender Gap Found At America’s Venture Capital Firms

The regularity of gender discrimination in the workplace has been demonstrated time and again. For example, currently, women get paid 77 cents to a man’s dollar. Inequity in the financial and lobbying industries is particularly prevalent. And in venture capital firms, where women make up a small minority of partner positions, discrimination seems to be compounded.

Several writers at Betabeat conducted a study calculating the FEM (female equality metric) of 71 venture capital firms. They found that “almost 50 percent of venture capital firms don’t have any female partners” and that many have exclusively female receptionists:

Page through the list of venture capital’s heavyweights, and it’s striking to see how few women have made it to the upper ranks. Also striking was the perfect 100 POFR, or percentage of female receptionists, at the 26 VC firms we called…’We have female administrative assistants,’ explained one woman who picked up the phone, when asked whether any of the partners and managing directors were women.

Even one firm with a slightly better ranking, Kleiner Perkins, is being sued by investment partner Ellen Pao for sex discrimination. Among other things, “the suit alleges that Pao, along with other female employees at the firm, were regularly left out of meetings held by the firm’s male partners and that she was unfairly passed over for promotion because of her gender.”

— Nina Liss-Schultz