When the New York Times broke a story about sexual harassment in Silicon Valley last summer, Precursor Ventures founding partner Charles Hudson blasted out an email to his portfolio companies letting them know behavior of that sort would not be tolerated.
The San Francisco venture capital firm, he said, had zero tolerance for sexual harassment or bias and expected people in its network to “carry themselves with high character.” If founders weren’t being treated equally with respect regardless of gender, he encouraged them to speak out.
Another investment company, R/GA Ventures, sent out tweets showing public support for the women in its portfolio — including one in the New York Times story — who spoke out publicly against sexual harassment, which it said was an effort to let the earliest silence breakers know it heard them and supported them.
Since then, the chorus of women speaking out against gender inequality and sexual harassment in the workplace has grown louder across sports, technology, media and Hollywood, fueled by widespread social media campaigns, such as #MeToo and #TimesUp. Men have also grown vocal, with male-dominated VCs now making a better effort to be more inclusive and figure out ways to level the playing field.
SportTechie spoke with more than a half-dozen female entrepreneurs and CEOs of companies underpinning the billion-dollar technological shift in sports in order to get a temperature read on gender inequalities in sports technology. These women, who aren’t just navigating the male-dominated world of technology but the doubly male-dominated world of sports and technology, say there’s no quick fix to gender inequality, but that the increased awareness has been a good place to start.
“As soon as people become more aware, they start checking themselves,” said Ashley Wellington-Fahey, the chief executive officer of The Relish — a Precursor portfolio company with a media platform dedicated to female sports fans. “There’s a mindfulness that wasn’t there before.”