Recently, several studies have been released that have served to reinforce the validity of universally accepted truths, rather than alerting the general populace to previously unknown but critical bits of information.
For example, medical researchers have learned that heart attack risk increases for those feeling anger (according to The New York Times) and infants with hearty appetites might grapple with obesity later on in life (the Huffington Post learned).
Hardly surprising, to say the least, but important all the same.
The results of a study examining the processes by which male and female entrepreneurs secure funding continued the trend of revealing far from surprising news. Their findings indicate that investors who fund entrepreneurial ventures are more likely to favor pitches given by young, classically attractive men than those offered by any other type of person – and by a significant margin.
The group of experts involved in the study – who hailed from Harvard Business School, MIT Sloan School and and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School – also found that those in charge of funding may favor pitches from men even if the ideas themselves are the same as those offered by women, CBS News is reporting.
“We identify a profound and consistent gender gap in entrepreneurship, a central path to job creation, economic growth and prosperity,” researchers were quoted as saying in the study, which was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The findings were the result of three different experiments conducted by the team of researchers – one that examined the basic results of American entrepreneurial pitch competitions, one which modified the gender of presenters to gauge how that specific factor affected funding and one that paired the gender-altered idea pitches with images showing people of various levels of physical beauty.
Ultimately, those polled were consistently more likely to choose the ideas presented (or at least seemingly presented) by attractive men.
Additionally, when the same pitch was delivered by both a man and a woman, feedback indicated that prospective investors found the man to be “more persuasive, logical, and fact-based” than the woman, despite the near-identical content of their presentations.
And in regards to beauty, researchers found that the appearance of the men who presented played a role in whether or not their ideas were well-received by investors. However, they also found that physical attractiveness did not have a positive or negative impact on the investment-garnering prospects of women.
As we said earlier, the findings were not especially surprising, particularly to a community of women who have grappled with such issues for decades. The fact that they aren’t, though, does little to negate the infuriating nature of that double standard – especially as such news may prove discouraging for women who are hoping to get their own ventures off the ground with the help of investors.
For women looking to secure funding for their business ideas, Entrepreneur magazine offered several pieces of advice – including not letting rejection chip away at your drive and momentum.
“Visualize success — if you believe you can do it, you will do it,” Zoe Barry, the CEO of ZappRX, was quoted as saying. “I never said ‘if’ I raise money, I always said ‘when’ I raise money. It was never a question of ‘if’ for me.”
Several female entrepreneurs also spoke with The Story Exchange to offer their wisdom on the matter – wisdom acquired from their own past experiences and difficulties – to female entrepreneurs who are just starting to establish themselves professionally.
Deborah Olivo, founder of VidaAire, recommended that entrepreneurial hopefuls reach out to available networks of women who have already gone through the challenge of founding and furthering their own businesses for advice, encouragement and empathy.
“Seek out people that have done it. There’s no reason to have to reinvent the wheel,” she told The Story Exchange. “Extract the benefit of their wisdom so that you can better prepare yourself.”