‘I feel sorry for your husband’ – Dutch start-up women hit back at sexist investors

Photo: Depositphotos.com
Photo: Depositphotos.com

‘Pregnant and running a company with all those hormones? I feel sorry for your husband’ and ‘we must keep using your pretty face because it won’t last for ever’ – these are just two examples of sexist comments recently directed at female entrepreneurs in the Netherlands, the Financieele Dagblad said on Wednesday.

A group of business women began collecting examples of the sexist behaviour of potential investors earlier this year, in reaction to a recent report about the financing of start-ups launched by women.

That report concluded start-ups led by men are far more likely than those let by women or mixed teams to get funding from venture capital groups. The researchers analysed the investments made by 40 funds and found that just 1.6% of the start-ups they put money into were led by women. Just 6.8% had a mixed team at the helm.

The comment list was started by Eline Leijten, who founded the artist booking platform Plugify and gathered 29 comments within a week, the FD said. The experiences ranged from unwanted sexual approaches to incredulity about a €1m turnover target and questions about children.

The start-up research, published last September, also led junior economic affairs minister Mona Keijzer to take steps to change the male dominance of government committees set up to award grants and subsidies to start-ups.

Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation