What specific challenges do female CEOs and founders face today in the startup world? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.
First, I want to say that there are advantages to being a female CEO/co-founder. To quote Beyoncé: "Who runs the world? Girls!" And while I think many of us are frustrated that there aren't even more women in positions of power, from politics to board rooms, I believe that a disruption to that norm is happening and accelerating, and that women (and men) are more energized than ever to make it happen.
In the 6 years since starting Birchbox, I see a marked shift in women proactively reaching out to offer help, formally and informally. The sincerity and intensity of these quick-forming bonds is powerful, energizing, and foundational to the change that many of us deeply believe will make the world a better place.
Yes, there are things that are hard because this is not yet the norm. Fundraising, hard. Multiply the hard if you are raising money for a product geared toward a female consumer, where there is not yet a proof of concept (the Netflix of ...). Recruiting for certain positions, hard. Self-inflicted guilt from having a family, hard. Though I do believe that being a leader in that situation is a privileged position, with perhaps fewer external challenges (more your own guilt).
For me, I feel that I have competitive advantages as a female co-founder and CEO. I definitely don't feel complacent about the status quo, but I also don't feel victimized. I feel empowered to be a part of the change.
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