This story, done in partnership with female-focused tech platform She Loves Tech, unpacks the unequal playing field that male and female founders face in the tech start-up industry.
By analyzing data on pitches, investor bias and unpaid care work, this story sheds light on disparities in funding, and lack of societal and infrastructural support that women encounter and have to overcome in the tech industry. This raises awareness on the invisible barriers faced by female entrepreneurs and aids in spurring action on levelling the playing field. Analysis of women-led start-up missions and interviews with five female entrepreneurs from across Asia also further reveal the benefits that women not just bring to the table, but to wider society. By centering the experiences of female founders through an interactive map, readers get to hear from women themselves and be inspired by the innovative tech they have introduced to benefit their communities.
For the dot plot and bar chart, we edited basic visualisations from RawGraph by adding illustrations and stylizing them further on Figma. The data was sourced externally and extracted from reports by United Nations Women and International Finance Corporation.
For the word cloud, we did a text analysis of the mission statements submitted by applicants to the 2021 She Loves Tech Global Competition and generated the visualisation on Flourish.
What was the hardest part of this project?
The lack of open financial data, particular sex-disaggagrated data, made this story challenging from the get-go. Most investment data found online were hidden behind a paywall, while the numbers we could find were not broken down into male and female-led businesses.
Although we know that women face far more obstacles in accessing start-up funding and participating in paid employment, for some reason this data hasn’t been collected globally or made publicly available to understand the full scale of the problem.
What can others learn from this project?
Many issues facing women go under or unreported, although there is a wealth of stories that can be gleaned from speaking to women, or exploring what exists and what’s missing from gender-related data.
This project underscores the importance of telling such stories, and as data journalists, seeking and gathering sex-disaggregated data. This can help reveal long standing bias, and highlight more nuanced, useful and revealing insights to help improve the lives of women.