Gender disparity across the Indian startup ecosystem has increased in 2020 with nearly 77% of firms having less than 20% women in leadership roles, compared to 69% in 2019, according to a report, Startup Outlook Report 2021, by Innoven Capital.
There has been no improvement over the last few years, the report said.
“The gender gap in leadership teams of startups has been persisting. The survey we did last year showed that close to 45% of founders had less than 10% women in leadership roles. Whether it is founders hiring from STEM backgrounds, or making lateral hires from corporate leadership pools, there is a gap in gender diversity prevailing, which is spilling over to startups as well,” said Ashish Sharma, chief executive officer (CEO), Innoven Capital India.
Around 100 founders participated in the survey ranging from early-, growth- and late-stage startups, including unicorns.
A conscious effort needs to be made in this direction by startup founders and women employees must be made part of the critical decision-making processes to get a diverse view, said Vanishri Deshpande, founder, and CEO of HR tech startup Spottabl.
“There is a lack of conscious effort to bring diversity in leadership teams. Whether it is mid-senior roles or leadership hiring, close to 93% of Indian founders who approach us never mention hiring women leaders as a criterion. It is a mindset issue as founders are looking to close talent acquisition on an immediate basis and by putting a filter for hiring women they feel the process might be delayed further,” Deshpande said.