A very interesting study published by Dana Kanze at Columbia University shows that the reason why female founders receive less funding is that the questions they are asked by investors during their interviews are different from the one male founders get. Male entrepreneurs get 67% promotion oriented questions, meaning focusing on potential gains, hopes, achievements…. women entrepreneurs are asked for 66% prevention-oriented questions. In other words, they focus on potential losses, safety, vigilance… Entrepreneurs who were asked promotion questions received 7 times as much funding as those who were asked prevention questions. That’s is probably why female founders receive on average only 25% of the applied amount versus 50% for male founders.
Gender biases are also highlighted by this study from Harvard Business Review, about Swedish public VC. Despite being a champion country of gender-equality: they label male entrepreneurs and female entrepreneurs differently. For a similar characteristic such as age, a male entrepreneur will be described as “young and promising” whereas a female entrepreneur will be described as “young but inexperienced”. This is just one example but it’s very typical!