Why there are few female entrepreneurs in the digital industry

Although women make up around half of the German population, they are only involved in 15.7% of start-ups in the German digital industry. How can that be? A possible reason: social gender stereotypes. These were examined more closely as part of a current study of the start-up competition of the Federal Ministry of Economics (BMWi) together with the Gesellschaft für Informatik. On the one hand through the assessment of experts in the digital German start-up ecosystem, on the other hand through a representative survey.

Technology is often a tool for female entrepreneurs

From the point of view of the team of experts, one reason for the low number of female entrepreneurs in the digital sector is that women and girls identify less with the topic of “starting their own business in the digital sector” than their male colleagues. There are also fewer women overall in the relevant subjects such as computer science and engineering as well as in MINT courses. According to experts, one reason for this is that in the relevant subjects in schools and training, the teachers and lecturers are often male and therefore none identification figure represent.

According to experts, if you look into the past, you can see that boys participate more actively in the digital world, e.g. B. through the early use of computer games or the interest in programming. Another aspect is that although girls are almost as good at STEM subjects as boys, they have an even greater interest in languages ​​and the social sphere and accordingly prefer their professional focus here. In addition, men are more willing to take risks than women. You should also take a look at the wording and the perception of your own company: While male founders describe the Internet and digital technologies as part of the company’s content, women founding a business see them primarily as Tool. That is why they often do not see and describe themselves as business founders in the digital industry.

Female entrepreneurs struggle with the double burden of family and career

As the experts’ assessments make clear, certain role models emerge early on. But how do they shape our understanding of entrepreneurship? What role do gender stereotypes play? 4,270 people were questioned as part of a representative survey. Accordingly, the characteristics of successful founding personalities are generally attributed primarily to male stereotype attributed. So e.g. B. expects that a successful founding personality is willing “to stop at nothing to achieve their goals”. In addition, “this puts family and friends aside and thinks above all about the success of the company”. However, these qualities are sometimes even more expected of female founders than of founding personalities in general (reading tip: These top 10 qualities make founders successful).

According to this, 11% of those surveyed expect women to start their own businesses in particular that they “will stop at nothing”. However, only 8% expect this from successful founders in general. In addition, there will be something special about female entrepreneurs higher expectations asked than to founding personalities in general. such as B. when it comes to competence in their field (60.4% vs. 57%) or being “full of ideas and creativity” (62.2% vs. 57%). In addition, female entrepreneurs are expected to have characteristics that can be attributed to the female stereotype, such as B. Taking care of the family. Because while around 19.6% agreed that founders in general should be willing to “put family and friends aside and above all think about the success of the company”, this was only 18.9% for women founders in particular. This shows that they are expected to double burden Being able to balance family and career better than their male counterparts, which can lead to a barrier in the process of starting a business.

Majority for support of female founders

Furthermore, the experts were approaches asked, which must be created in order to increase the proportion of female entrepreneurs in the digital industry. The experts name the dissemination of female role models by politicians in the context of public reporting as a key point. Furthermore, the experts consider it important to develop framework conditions that encourage people to take the risk of starting a business with a family. It is also recommended that women actively promote MINT subjects and MINT start-ups.

As the study shows, the digital industry is still dominated by men. Female entrepreneurs in this area are rare, since e.g. B. early female role models are missing in the important STEM subjects and have higher expectations of them.

Financial support from the state is available to women who become self-employed want, under various state funding to use. Here z. B. before or after founding a company Advisory Funding be applied for (service: funding check). The high of grants for pre-start-up advice varies from state to state (service: search for a consultant).

The full study can be downloaded as a PDF document from the website of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (external link).