On a recent Tuesday evening, while most people were leaving the Market Street area of downtown San Francisco, more than 100 executives, investors, and entrepreneurs headed to Google for the Women at the Forefront of Social Change conference. Centered on women transforming the world of responsible investment and entrepreneurship, events like this are part of a growing movement to recognize the voices of women who are challenging conventional paradigms.
Since the beginning of 2016, women-led companies have received only 4.4% of all venture capital, according to PitchBook Data. Furthermore, while teams led by men receive an average of $12 million, women-led teams receive an average of $5 million. The numbers only shrink when considering ventures helmed by women of color. Cass Walker-Harvey, Managing Director of Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale, is keenly aware of this imbalance and is working to help close that gap though building opportunities and networks at Yale.
“Changing underrepresentation in leadership involves looking at all levels of the ecosystem,” says Walker-Harvey. “By encouraging women and people of color to start companies or projects during their time as students, they will be introduced to the entrepreneurial process which will serve them in whatever leadership position they choose to pursue in their careers.”