As I sit here reading another article on the recently broken news story about the sexual harassment female fund seekers have faced in Silicon Valley, an ad for washing powder pops up. Fantastic. Just what I needed. One woman telling another woman how great this particular detergent is. Seriously? It's not remarketing, the last thing I would be looking at on another site is washing powder. How distracting. And how offensive for the many men in the world who are highly capable of washing clothes. *Note to washing powder company: I've never had a conversation with another woman about washing clothes, except in regards to gender specific ads like yours.
Annoying ad aside, my frustration is (not about that stubborn stain I can't get out of my kitchen apron) that I'm constantly reading articles like this one, with stats on the challenges women face getting funding for their startups. Like there's not enough standing in the way of a startup, but low and behold, there's a bucket load of sexual advances, suggestive comments and ideas of swapping funding for favours; sexual or otherwise, thrown into the mix of the often ongoing struggle for an early stage businesswoman.
It's commonplace for many industries, how can we pretend we didn't know this sort of behaviour would be rampant in the venture capital space too? Frustratingly for the many good men out there (in general and in VC land), here's yet another disgusting story of it being reasonable for women to be treated this way by a group of disrespectful, entitled males.
Once again a group of men's despicable antics are bringing to light the ongoing issue of women's rights, this time in the startup scene. For each step forward, it feels we take 3 backwards. And I'm normally an optimist. Sadly this is one area in my life and the world I live in that I'm not so hopeful about.
On Friday, I attended the AFL Women's Industry Conference and Lunch. I got to meet some of the game changers and trail blazers of the industry including Sam Lane, Bec Maddern, Tanya Hosch as well as listen to Dr. Rebecca Huntley, Neroli Meadows, Mikaela Jade, Mia Freedman, Leigh Russell, Felicity Harley and other spectacular women. I left the event feeling more pumped up and positive about women's roles and representation in footy than I've ever been. Something real is happening there. Positive change. Upward movement. Now this is the AFL - a sport's industry and world that was very much the ultimate boys' club.
Reflecting on this, I seem to gently fall back to my sunny, optimistic haze of 'maybe things are changing?' Note the question mark. As my eyes glance up at the previous paragraphs and my mind gathers the many mental open tabs of articles on women coming forward in yet another industry scandal, I'm just not convinced we're making positive change fast enough.