A new survey of 950 men and women in tech, which was conducted by ClickOnDetroit, found that 45% of female founders said they were sexually harassed.
The first 6 months of this year saw many venture capitalists come clean and even resign from top posts. In June, two Silicon Valley investors resigned from the firms they co-founded after women accused them of sexual harassment. 500 Startups co-founder Dave McClure and Binary Capital co-founder Justin Caldbeck, didn’t just cross the line once, according to the allegations.
Appalled by the recent state of affairs shaking Silicon Valley’s venture capital community, California State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (District -Santa Barbara) on August 10, unveiled plans to update the state’s existing civil rights law to specifically prohibit sexual harassment in the investor-founder relationship.
“There are too many of these men abusing their power against women who are looking for funding for their ideas, as these women try to break into an industry that is overwhelming dominated by men,” Jackson said Thursday in an exclusive interview with the news organization, before publicly revealing the bill in a media conference call.
The new legislation is sponsored by civil rights organization Equal Rights Advocates, which pushes for gender and economic justice for women and girls. Jackson also worked with Equal Rights Advocates to pass the California Fair Pay Act, which strengthened California’s equal pay law and became effective in 2016. Many entrepreneurs have shown support for the bill.
Lisa Wang, one of the six women featured in CNN Tech’s “Money, Power, and Sexual Harassment” special, said “it’s refreshing to see the government taking tangible action to support the fundamental rights of women entrepreneurs. Sexual harassment shouldn’t even be a factor women need to consider when fundraising. With the passing of this bill, we’ll finally be able to get back to what we were meant to do, build successful companies.”
Noreen Farrell, executive director of San Francisco-based women’s rights non-profit Equal Rights Advocates, said the bill represents a step forward for the tech industry. “We’re saying to women everywhere that the law has their back so they can get down to the business of launching their enterprises,” Farrell added.