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Is There Progress on the Issue of Financial Inclusion for Women?

Women in the tech industry have found their place through the most difficult challenges. Even when opportunities were limited for females, some of them have made it to the top.

The Woman Post | Ana Victoria Servigna

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However, there are still many obstacles to face to have an equal work environment for both men and women. This social phenomenon is related to the glass ceiling and is currently reflected in how women receive less financial support to start their technological ventures.

Entrepreneur Lauren Foundos has decided to share her testimony and express how it has been for her to excel with her startup, highlighting being a woman in the overwhelmingly masculine world of venture capital as a major barrier. Speaking from her experience, she claims that capitalism and gender roles impeded her chances of reaching a higher rank. She also commented that she was constantly questioned by her male colleagues who did not believe she would do a good job as an executive in the future.

Women who seek to improve themselves in the professional world are constantly intimidated by not being proficient enough to hold an important job position. Those fears come from a system that has taken it upon itself to intimidate women into entering their professional careers and continue to focus on other obligations imposed by society. Lauren Foundos says that as a woman passionate about technology and motivated to start her startup, like other women entrepreneurs, she had to work harder to succeed in the industry. She also talks about how some men do not believe that she was emotionally strong to hold a leadership position.

"In some cases, before I even spoke, they were asking me if I would step down as chief executive. This was a whole new level," Foundos said.

Also read: 7 AMAZING WOMEN IN THE FIELD OF NEUROLOGY

This glass ceiling continues to have a strong presence in the world of technology, where hard-to-see informal barriers prevent women from getting promotions, pay raises, and more opportunities. Many times, it goes unnoticed, and women are not aware of discrimination and become victims of a venture capitalism system.

Laura also mentions that although her work is questioned on a larger scale, she does not believe that as a woman she should get extra opportunities. She just wants to be considered equal to enterprising men.

"I don't think women need to be given things," Foundos said of venture capital backing. "But I think they are not seeing the same amount of deals."

Sexual abuse and racism

About 44 percent of the founders surveyed spoke of harassment, such as sexual insults or unwanted physical contact, while seeking financial support. Sexual arrangements in exchange for founding are common for introduction to proposed venture capitalists for startup financing, according to a recent World Wide Technology (WWT) survey.

Black American entrepreneur Fonta Gilliam affirms that prospects for funding get even more dismal for women of color.

Gilliam worked overseas with financial institutions for the US State Department before creating the social banking startup Invest Sou Sou. She started her venture when she took the idea of village savings circles that she had seen flourish in places like Africa and turned it into a free mobile app, adding artificial intelligence and partnering with financial institutions.

She eventually started generating income to show that her startup could make money, but still found it more difficult to obtain funds than her male counterparts.

"Where startups run by men would get believed, we'd have to prove it 10 times over."

Gilliam also obtained significantly low valuations to come up with her startup, some so acquisitive that she had to leave, missing a great opportunity.

"One thing about women-owned, black-owned startups: because there is such a high bar to get support our businesses tend to be scrappier, stronger, and more resilient."

 All these women are constantly fighting to break the glass ceiling and face their opponents to achieve success in the technology industry. These stories are emerging to raise awareness about the limited funding options that most women entrepreneurs can apply for.

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