Here are a few facts about what Lumi founder Jesse Genet has accomplished so far: invented a product, raised $270,000 on Kickstarter, placed her product in 1,500 stores, generated seven-figure sales, appeared on Shark Tank, and gotten into Y Combinator. All before age 30.
Oh, and she's also a woman.
This final fact shouldn't matter much, but according to a revealing piece Genet recently posted to Medium, it does. Her darkly humorous rant runs through all the ridiculous, insulting, and simply baffling comments Genet hears regularly as a woman founder -- and which she feels are still a sadly common problem for female leaders.
The idea, I imagine, it that by breaking her silence and shining a light on how these comments -- many of which are simply thoughtless rather than intentionally disrespectful -- demean and annoy women bosses, maybe those guilty of voicing them will be shamed into a little self-reflection and reform. It's a project I can get on board with.
It you're looking to be simultaneously horrified and amused, check out the complete post where you'll find many more details about clueless dudes regularly telling accomplished female founders things like:
1. "Come to my event. I want more women there."
Trying to make events more diverse is great, everyone agrees, "but inviting me to an event and in the same breath admitting that you're doing it because you want women to be there is sort of like inviting a black guy to your birthday party and admitting it's because you don't want your other friends to think you're racist. It feels icky and makes the invitee feel like the invitation isn't genuine," writes Genet.
2. "Did your dad help you draft this?"
"This is just one example of the blatant questions and comments older men wittingly or unwittingly ask young females in business without understanding the gravity of the sexism involved. Would you ask a mid-20s self-made male businessperson if their father helped them with something?" Genet asks.
3. "Are you familiar with a balance sheet?"
Response: um, yes, I'm a CEO. This one, unbelievably, came from a job applicant. According to Genet, this happens all the time. "The frequency that male job candidates ask demeaning questions is fascinating, and always shocking," she says.
4. "You're the CEO!?"
"Another cringeworthy reaction I get is surprise, if not skepticism, that I'm not in an female-focused industry," adds Genet.
5. "Are you ambitious enough?"
For Genet, the answer is clearly yes (just see the intro of this post for evidence), but yet she's frequently quizzed on whether she's got the drive to succeed. "I've seen dudes being hailed as ambitious simply for quitting their cushy day jobs, yet it's surprisingly common for women to be questioned on whether they are ambitious 'enough,'" she attests.
Lady bosses: what's the dumbest thing you regularly hear as a female leader?