How can we nurture female tech entrepreneurs? By Ryan Holmes Mar 6 2015

By Ryan Holmes via ‘Agenda’ World Economic Forum

Mar 6 2015 

“That women are underrepresented in the startup community is hardly news. Just 1.3% of percent of founders at privately held, venture-backed companies are women, according to a 2012 Dow Jones study titled Women at the Wheel. After all these years, the face of tech startups is still a young guy with fashionable stubble and thick black glasses.

I’d like to think my company is anything but a stodgy old boys club. As a social media company, the heart of our business is building relationships. Our employees are by and large young, progressive and open-minded.

But the numbers don’t lie. Recently, out of every 10 people interviewed for a tech position at our office, roughly nine were men. At that time, we had approximately 50 engineers and developers on our team, and fewer than 20 of them were women. (By contrast, the gender breakdown is closer to 50-50 for other departments.) Figuring out why this is and what can be done about it, however, isn’t easy.

You can point to the scarcity of female role models in tech, though thankfully high-profile leaders like Yahoo!’s Marissa Mayer and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg are slowly changing that. Or you can blame it on the obstacles to building a culture of entrepreneurialism among women: According to a recent Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report, more than half of women doubt their abilities to start a business, while men report having a much more robust professional network for advice and inspiration. This is despite the fact that “at all levels, women are rated higher in 12 of the 16 competencies that go into outstanding leadership,” according to a 2012 report by Harvard Business Review.

But it’s hard to get around a simple reality: Computer science, the backbone of any tech startup, is still a male-dominated field. (Of course, you don’t have to be brilliant programmer to launch a startup … but it definitely helps to understand code on some level.) Women comprise fewer than 30 percent of U.S. computer science and engineering programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, according to the National Science Foundation. Coding, in particular has traditionally been seen as a guys’ thing. But does it have to be?

Girl Dev is a pilot program started from our offices at HootSuite. Once every few weeks for several hours, groups of women interested in improving their computer coding skills meet in our building. The focus is on teaching not just the basics of HTML and CSS but more advanced topics including Javascript, PHP and app development in a supportive and non-competitive environment.”

Read more


REFERENCE – Agenda, World Economic Forum

Call for Papers, GGEC15 Academic Symposium Sydney

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About the Symposium

The next Australian International Gender Economics Global Conference, the GGEC15 will be held at the University of NSW, city campus on 10 June of 2015.  This will be an academic session with the major conference taking place every second year. The theme for the 2015 Conference is “Gender Economics, Innovation, Performance”.  Find out more here

Why it matters that Super Fund Managers have Gender Balance

I was listening to the National Press Club discussion about Superannuation today with a panel including John Brogden, former politician and now Chief Exec of the Financial Services Council. Brogden is expected to head up AICD in early 2015 and he said that “looking forward twenty years, when the head of AMP for example has $200 million of super funds to invest, he and others like him, will be listened to”. They will be listened to by the investment market, by ‘mums and dads’ and no doubt by government. With the $ value of managed funds expected to grow, what those companies invest in, or want to invest your super funds in will make a difference. Not just to your super nest egg, but to your life and the lives of your family. These ‘super’ funds will become even greater influencers to government policy, and the market economy than they are now.

If that is not scary enough, now think about who might be the key influencer in that company? No doubt the CEO or Chair of the Board. What is the gender, cultural and age diversity mix of the board and what sort of company culture have they developed? Do they have an interest in sustainability, do they have an interest in gender equity and equality, are they an inclusive company? Or, like many current organisations, the decision makers remain majority male. Yes sure, they may have a great understanding of the benefit of diversity, they may even be pro women, but if board gender diversity numbers of women continue to decline, we could be in for some startling outcomes over the next twenty years as raised by Brogden.

In twenty years our reliance on superannuation to fund our retirement will increase significantly and with larger and larger amounts of the elderly and pre retirement (50-65 year olds) already struggling, the impact could be dire. How will the current lack of women in senior leadership and boards play out in this scenario twenty years into the future?

Are you scared? You should be. Unless we can see more diversity in our top companies, and quickly, then we have the potential to have decisions made that benefit the few with the exclusion of the many. This is why it is vitally important that we encourage our girls and young women to invest now, to understand the investment cycle and plan for their future. Don’t leave the influencing decisions to others.

With rumblings in the Australia Super Industry and government about different ways to structure super and how and what super funds might invest in, it is important that we understand what is going on and what the ramifications might be for the future. For example, some of the rumblings mentioned in todays Press Club Event by Chief Executive of Industry Super Australia, David Whiteley were; investing 5% of super in public infrastructure, or not making super contributions compulsory for low income earners because well, “they will always be on benefits anyway”. Note this is not necessarily Whiteley’s view, he was merely demonstrating the potential issues when large amounts of money are involved and then mixed with value judgements, bias and in some cases downright discrimination or stupidity.

The potential to degrade the lives of others by limiting diverse opinions on some of these boards could be real. The resultant economic impact could be gendered if we don’t do something about the gender pay gap and gap in superannuation savings between men and women now. Think about where the money and influencers are? They are normally heads of state, CEOs or owners of large corporations, the banking and finance industry, or leaders in industry segments all trying to do the best for their shareholders. With the increasing amount of money accumulating in superannuation, we are seeing another major influencer being created.

Thinking forward and looking under the surface of what is happening and pointing out the gendered implications is what Gender Economics is all about. Contact us at The Centre for Gender Economics and Innovation for more information about innovative board strategy, research on economic decision making, and creating a diverse high performance culture.


IGI Global: Call for Chapter Details

IGI Global: Call for Chapter Details.


Proposal Submission Deadline: September 30, 2014

Contemporary Global Perspectives on Gender Economics 


A book edited by

Susanne Moore (The Centre for Gender Economics and Innovation, Australia)


To be published by IGI Global:


For release in the Advances in Finance, Accounting, and Economics (AFAE) Book Series


Series Editor: Ahmed Driouchi (Al Akhawayn University, Morocco)

ISSN: 2327-5677


Propose a chapter for this book


The Advances in Finance, Accounting, and Economics (AFAE) book series aims to publish comprehensive and informative titles in all areas of economics and economic theory, finance, and accounting to assist in advancing the available knowledge and providing for further research development in these dynamic fields.


Gender Economics is an emerging field of study that builds on the theories of diversity and promotes the value of gender balance, particularly in the area of innovation and creativity. It looks at how gender influences economics and socio-economic decisions and how those decisions impact gender. Gender Economics is gender neutral and encompasses male, female, and other gendered identities.

Gender Economics seeks to challenge current economic theory, broadening the conversation to encompass sociological complexities currently at play in society – ie: to deconstruct economic policy, reconstructing it in a manner that allows us to develop rational and objective tracks for further research. It is hoped that through the development of this field we will be able to take issues around gender and understand the history of the issues’ development, reconstructing it and realising new solutions. Gender Economics is about the way we use gender for economic advantage, it’s not a women’s issue.

Gender Economics is about the way we target gender for economic gain or increased market share. It is about the way economics leads to policy formation and the underlying gender bias within these processes. It is about the values placed on gender and how economics, policy and gender interact with society.

The development of the field of Gender Economics has the potential to create completely new discourses and solutions to many existing gendered issues, particularly issues around women’s empowerment and women’s equality. Gender Economics aims to uncover traditional economic and social theory, highlighting the way these theories are formulated, many of which have a gender bias which is overlayed with a cultural or religious value system that often degrades the rights of a particular gender.

Objective of the Book

The knowledge economy is both global and highly competitive in nature and it is no longer possible to achieve economic resilience and growth by taking a conventional approach. Policy makers talk about inclusive development but have no models to turn their rhetoric into action. This book provides a discourse on how to advance current practices through holistic and multidisciplinary views on gender, introducing frameworks, models and metrics for inclusive and equitable economic and organisational development practices. This book aims to incorporate views on innovation and diversity to demonstrate ways to shift current business paradigms that are under pressure to change in a global and complex environment. An increasing awareness to recognise diverse culture and increased gender balance means that businesses are looking for practical and sustainable solutions to gender diversity and innovation and the book aims to provide tangible links to profitability and increased performance. 

Target Audience

  • Academics in the field of gender studies, women’s studies and diversity.
  • Economics and sociology students (there is an increasing awareness of the overlap between economics and sociology disciplines such as outlined in disciplines such as behavioral economics).
  • Law and policy makers
  • Educational facilities
  • Economic developers, and
  • Corporates, practitioners and consultants in business transformation and diversity 

Recommended topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

POLICY – Impact of policy formation on economic empowerment

  • Economic impact of gendered policy formation
  • The history of policy formation and gendered assumptions, beliefs and value systems that can degrade the life experience of particular groups
  • Discussions about the way in which this is being addressed (or not) in contemporary society.

INVESTMENT – Investment and economic empowerment

  • Economic empowerment of women
  • Access to capital
  • Labour force participation
  • Inequities in the distribution of wealth
  • The impact of poverty and gendered demographics demonstrating benefits to economic investment and the banking system

ENVIRONMENT – Environment and Sustainability

  • Organisational sustainability
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Models to create positive and sustainable business environments
  • Gender exploitation and Human Trafficking
  • Solutions for creating more sustainable socio-economic environments

INNOVATION AND HEALTH – Innovation, Health and Wellness

  • Gender Economics is about uncovering restrictive practices; process, policies and ways of thinking that reduce innovation in organisations and communities
  • How can we build healthy communities and work environments that are equitable, promote equality and leverage diversity to increase performance through innovation?

Submission Procedure

Researchers and practitioners are invited to submit on or before September 30, 2014, a chapter proposal of 1,000 to 2,000 words clearly explaining the mission and concerns of his or her proposed chapter. Authors will be notified by September 30, 2014 about the status of their proposals and sent chapter guidelines. Full chapters are expected to be submitted by October 30, 2014. All submitted chapters will be reviewed on a double-blind review basis. Contributors may also be requested to serve as reviewers for this project.

Note: There are no submission or acceptance fees for manuscripts submitted to this book publication, Contemporary Global Perspectives on Gender Economics. All manuscripts are accepted based on a double-blind peer review editorial process.


Full chapters may be submitted to this book here:


All proposals should be submitted through the link at the bottom of this page.



This book is scheduled to be published by IGI Global (formerly Idea Group Inc.), an international academic publisher of the “Information Science Reference” (formerly Idea Group Reference), “Medical Information Science Reference,” “Business Science Reference,” and “Engineering Science Reference” imprints. IGI Global specializes in publishing reference books, scholarly journals, and electronic databases featuring academic research on a variety of innovative topic areas including, but not limited to, education, social science, medicine and healthcare, business and management, information science and technology, engineering, public administration, library and information science, media and communication studies, and environmental science. For additional information regarding the publisher, please visit This publication is anticipated to be released in 2016.


Important Dates

September 30, 2014: Proposal Submission Deadline
September 30, 2014: Notification of Acceptance
October 30, 2014: Full Chapter Submission
November 30, 2014: Review Results Returned
January 15, 2015: Final Acceptance Notification
January 22, 2015: Final Chapter Submission


Inquiries can be forwarded to

Susanne Moore
Centre for Gender Economics and Innovation
Tel.: +61 2 9962 6593
MOBILE: +61 439 420 897


Propose a chapter for this book


To find related content in this research area, visit InfoSci®-OnDemand:

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What is Gender Economics?

“Its the exploitation of gender for economic gain” (Susanne Moore 2012).  This is my basic definition of Gender Economics and whilst it sounds terrible it doesn’t have to be. For example, the way that we market to men and women differently by understanding their different drivers. A good example is the advertising by Jeep to use the phase “she bought a what” to indicate to men, that women are buying Jeeps. That is, they are approving the purchase of a Jeep, validating the male view that a Jeep is a desirable vehicle. Great advertising and Gender Economics!

The Benefits of Diversity to perspective and decision making

DPRF™ - Diversity Performance Review Framework*

I think that this quote from a book by Friedman that talks about friendship and moral growth can be easily applied to how greater gender balance and cultural diversity can make a difference to organisational decisions.  If you take out the word, moral, this quote highlights how diversity can give those in our organisations autonomy to make the right choices and decisions, based on a wider range of inputs.

“The greater the diversity of perspectives one can adopt for assessing rules, values, principals and character, the greater the degree of one’s autonomy in making moral choices” (Friedman 1993, pg.; 202)


Friedman, Marilyn (1993), ‘Friendship and Moral Growth’, What Are Friends For?’ in Feminist Perspectives on Personal Relationships and Moral Theory. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, pp. 187-207.

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