PE HUB | Gender equity: PE can do a lot better
By Tyler Newton
No one these days needs statistics to show that private equity and venture capital are too male-dominated. But here they are, from Bella Private Markets, showing that females control only 3.4% of the assets in PE.
Go to investment-firm websites and see how many women are on the investment teams. That’s bad enough. Then screen out associates. It’s pathetic.
We are working through a long overdue effort to root out old-school male-dominant culture. Supposedly enlightened communities like Hollywood and Silicon Valley have proved to be some of the worst offenders.
We know it shouldn’t be this way, from a business standpoint and a moral one. Gender inequity is not just grotesquely unfair, it is also bad business.
But while we now are certainly making progress, PE and VC must proactively promote change.
Gender-enlightened cultures are more balanced, fairer and respectful, they have more diversity of thought and they generate better returns. Ditto for portfolio-company cultures, where we have seen strong anecdotal correlation between positive work environments and positive returns.
Diverse and respectful work cultures make recruiting and retaining employees, male and female, easier.
We at Catalyst usually work with portfolio companies for five or more years, and we’ve found that life is just too short to deal with unenlightened execs. Their employees are likely to be unmotivated, turnover will be high and they’ll have difficulty attracting quality recruits, men and women. All of which point to lower performance and returns.
What, as an industry, should we do to promote gender equity?