Forget Silicon Valley, Female Tech Founders In Africa Are Closing Gender Gap

By Staff Published: September 9, 2017, 8:57 am
Female Tech Founders(Photo: blog.ethelcofie.com)

The latest high-profile scandals in Silicon Valley highlight that the battle for gender equity in the United States is far from won. Despite the tech industry’s progressive reputation, its track record for hiring, promoting and funding women is bleak: Only 17 percent of American startups have female founders.

But, halfway across the globe in tech hubs like Lagos, Nigeria, and Nairobi, Kenya, 46 percent of African ventures have a female founder and prospects for closing the gender gap there are high. International investors looking to realize outsized returns and social impact would be well-served to look to the female entrepreneurs driving Africa’s venture growth.

From Entrepreneur. Story by Lexi Novitske and Dale Mathias.

Ironically, because the Africa tech sector is still nascent and not yet labeled as a male-dominated field, women find fewer barriers to success than in many of the high-status corporate jobs on the continent that are still, discouragingly, controlled by men. Partially driven by necessity, women across the region have long dominated entrepreneurial activity through informal markets and cross-border trade of goods and services. Risk-taking and selling is already in their blood, and women are now taking this experience and applying it to the digital world.

According to VC4Africa, venture capital funding throughout Africa more than doubled from $27 million in 2015 to $73 million in 2016, echoing the growth opportunity tech founders and investors are seeing in the region. The rapidly expanding tech market is hungry for talent and as a result is relatively gender-blind when compared to the U.S., where the majority of venture capital funding goes to men.

Read more at Entrepreneur.

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