#5 Gender Equality Talks — Peter Gajdoš
What does Peter Gajdoš, Head of Venture Capital IPM Group think about gender equality in business? Read our newest article below!
1. Peter please tell us, what does gender equality mean for you in the investment world?
It means to mean equal access to capital and opportunities for women. Note: I believe the issue is not just women but also minorities (more of a US issue due to a more racially homogenous population in CEE). Bro investments by bro investors from elite schools into bros in elite schools is a real thing, though.
2. What can be done to improve the participation of women in the investor sector in CEE?
For me, there are 4 key things:
- More female VC partners and angel investors. If women are not in decision making positions in VC/angel investing (boards, investment committees, etc.), nothing will change. An absolute must.
- Specific female-focused incubators/start-up investment strategies. Many of these efforts already exist worldwide, so a bit more structure for the CEE start-up community would go a long way
- Attract more women in STEM + business education. Females are now the majority of the CEE university student population but still a minority in STEM + business. Must change.
- Change of attitude towards maternity — both from the investment community as well as from the CEE society in general. It should be OK for a female VC to take time off to have a baby; it should be OK for a female entrepreneur to take some time for a baby. At the same time, if the female VC/entrepreneur decides to go back to work after 3 or 6 months, it does not mean that the mother is a bad human being neglecting her child. Juggling is possible. Let’s accept the choices women make for themselves and for their families and deal with them.
Lastly, while this is not a specific step but a precondition for success: a major female entrepreneur success story is needed. We need a big exit/excitable valuation by a female entrepreneur. Something akin to UI Path success — that person can then shoulder the responsibility and lead the next crop of female entrepreneurs: financing, mentoring, motivation, etc.
3. What is your opinion about Equal chances for women to fund and get funded?
I believe it is mostly not an overt disadvantage/discrimination against women in VC; however, the unconscious bias is there. Many reasons — maternity leave attitudes as mentioned above, frequently less aggressive way of working/fundraising by females, smaller % of females in STEM education, small/clubby nature of VC/entrepreneurship, etc. This leads to a smaller number of female founders/VCs and hence a self-perpetuating cycle.