3 reasons why startups can flirt with woman but struggle at hiring them

I have worked in 3 startups since my career started, and I know how painful it is to hire people in startups, especially female candidates. It has always been a tough job to maintain healthy sex ratio among employees in startup. Sometimes, it’s so difficult that even reaching breakeven point seems to be

Woman not swallowing startup pill

easier. There are some jobs for which female employees are most suitable. It itched my head and longing for the reasons to find out why a female doesn’t want to work in startup.

Reason 1

For this I started asking many of my female friends, like what are their views about working in a startup. One of my friends told me that “I want a risk free standard job with handsome money, which I can get in MNC only.”

My views – I don’t understand why people consider startup as risky job. In fact it is most risk free job, as it takes really long for founders to understand that the new product or service is not going to work out. Also if you adore the product or idea and get passionate you are treated like a blue eyed blonde. If the idea really clicks, you need not worry. You can boast about being a direct connection to likes of Zuckerbergs or Biz Stone So simple J

I have found one interesting blog telling about how startups are risk free (http://www.guglanisam.me/?sort=&search=risk+free)

Reason 2

How will I work among so many men?

This is the biggest mistake women think about. In fact this question has no credibility as you need not have to work really hard if you are the only or

Women at Work

among handful women in office. You will be definitely getting more attention than your peers. But if you believe that if a lady would sneeze, you will find minimum 10 hands with their handkerchiefs, it will be a shock for you. Of course don’t stick to digit 10 as it depends on size of your company. Startup is a fun unlike traditional work environment. People get respect here for their creativity/skill. Gender plays no role.

Reason 3

Is it secure enough to work in such unknown company? I mean I don’t know how the CEO is? I fear if he abuses me physically….

I heard from my colleague, that once one girl came for interview, seeing that the office is in apartment, she ran away from parking only. My answer to above question is – do you think CEO of startups who are tossed by VCs , criticized by family to dare to take different path from other, motivating their employees and proving to the world that he is right and will he  have any more energy left to breach  the security of another person. Come on! Have empathy for him.

There are many more reasons apart from these which I am still exploring.  I would like to end my writing by asking few questions. I know, not all

Helping women . There are always more than she needs

women think like this, but sadly speaking they are very few in number.

  1. Is there any way to convince girls who are not joining due to above myths?
  2. Don’t you think you should give equal opportunity to all companies?
  3. “Hiring a woman” will it still remain a challenge for a startup?

Help me out to seek answers to these questions….

Disclaimer: This has come straight from my heart and please do not take offense to it


Achal Saraiya – A perennial Startup (www.wic.co.in ) Employee




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12 Responses to 3 reasons why startups can flirt with woman but struggle at hiring them

  1. Abhinay Somani says:

    Well said Achal . . !

  2. RJ says:

    Good article.. @ Vijay Anand, your thoughts are interesting :D

  3. Vijay Anand says:

    I can explain things more:
    1. Understand the Indian culture. Indian women are groomed to become housewife more than an economically independent person like men. Most think they are a helping hand in household, finances, their job is lesser priority than hubby’s. Hence they tend to take lesser risks and burden and tend to go for known brands.
    2. A girl at work or on bench in an MNC gets a lot of time for her personal stuffs, like gossip, directing family affairs over phone from office, going out for long lunches in restaurants, coming late still leaving early. Startup demands value work for money from every employee and cant provide such luxuries to girls.
    3. Crowd mentality: Thanks to indian education system, many boys have very vague or no idea what they would do after college, save in a few metros. Girls are still fewer with any concrete idea. Hence they would go as per advise of so called experts: family, parents, elders. And none of these “experts” recommends a startup. One gilr goes in Infy, says and says Hurrah. All the parents in the city ask their daughters to go Infy.
    4. Sexual harassment: is very, very serious matter for indian woman. This is not West where the culprit is held guilty and victim is sympathised. In India, the whole system works against victim of harassed woman and absolves the man. Ek baar daag laga to zindagi bhar ka lag gaya. Hence most girls would go for a place/company which is headed by known, trustworthy man. A name like NR Narayanmurthy brings trust. Hence attracts women to his MNC. Moreover, there r well-defined policies against harassment cases, how to handle them etc. Such things r absent in startups.
    5. Trust in crowd: Continuing the same above topic. Sheep feel safe in big number herds, despite seeing everyday that the lion attacks and kills one of them each day. Girls feel safer in big crowds, busy places. Lonely or sparse places are seemed dangerous. The count in an MNC is a crowd. The startup is sparsely populated. Lots of thoughts comes in mind, not only the girl’s but in her parents’ minds as well: what if all the 10 men gang-**** her. All these thoughts are strenghthened by the media stories. Only way i see a girl joining a startup is when she personally knows the CEO and at least 2-3 more men working there, either direclty or through any of her acquaintances. If she trusts the character/nature of the headnd few more men in any house, she will go there.

  4. Ivan says:

    A nice article by Guy Kawasaki about things to consider before joining a startup. http://www.mint.com/blog/how-to/guy-kawasaki-startup-tips/

  5. Nitin says:

    Nice written Achal! I suppose the answer lies with the first reason itself mentioned above.

  6. suarabh says:

    Very well written

  7. Nitesh says:

    Very Well Written! Come out with more reasons in your next blog. All t Best!!

  8. Akash Boaz says:

    Somebody has to tell the women out there, startups are safe for them..
    Achal, its a start!

  9. Chintan Sanghvi says:

    nicely written Achal..!! :) keep it up..

  10. Krishnakumar Iyer says:

    A very good article. Makes me wonder about quite a few things about startups.

  11. Nitin Bansal says:

    Beautifully written !! true things come from heart

  12. ravi says:

    good one Achal !!!

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