Discover more from The Family's Newsletter
I'm not a role model.
Have you watched Room 2906: The accusation, the documentary about Dominique Strauss-Kahn on Netflix?
It reminded me that back in 2011 my first thoughts were: “Oh s**t, this politician (and potential French president), got caught in a trap.” I thought it was all planned, a setup by the adversaries DSK had in politics.
We’ll never know what really happened that day in the presidential suite of the hotel. But my problem is that I was automatically thinking like the majority of French people, blinded by a certain culture of libertinism and male chauvinism. I didn’t even think that the victim was a victim.
It happened before #MeToo. Hopefully, that mindset started switching since then! But it’s so hard to change, to look at the past with clearer lenses, to admit how wrong we were. And it’s even more difficult to be objective when it’s about your own environment...
Let me try to share with you what it takes to be a female founder in tech today:
Most of the females leading companies in a male environment will tell you the same as I’ve been telling everyone: “I’ve never seen myself as a woman first, but as a human. My skills come before my gender. Yes, the world is unfair, but I’ve been dealing with it.”
We wouldn’t be here today if we had paid attention to the injustice and sexism in everyday behaviors.
When literally every meeting is filled with 90% alpha men, you act like the majority does. They are your clients, partners, investors, so you unconsciously adapt yourself in the way you dress, speak, think.
I’ve had the chance to be surrounded by founders who have tons of profound, philosophical reflections. And I find it fulfilling. But let’s be honest, there’s no place for vulnerability or empathy in that game.
You have to prove yourself, constantly. They’ll say it’s all in your head. But I can’t count how many times friends have said to me that they’ve been seriously asked: “Between us, tell me, what is Alice actually doing at The Family?” Even some colleagues would tell me innocently: “Sometimes I wonder what you do, and then suddenly I understand…” F**k.
The only way you can shut their mouths (and gain confidence, because you need it) is to show concrete results. So you work more, and little by little you get caught in a vicious circle: you’re the one responsible for everything!
Your male counterparts will naturally count on you, their tasks become yours while they’re conquering new territories. Then you’ll be told that you’re “controlling” or “micromanaging”. Of course, it’s your responsibility to get out of this situation. Good luck ;)
There are too few women leading companies in tech, right? Now please, tell me how many, among the few you do know, have a stable personal life? Like, a partner, children and free weekends to enjoy? I know the answer: almost zero.
In their limited time, my female friends and founders are lost in relationships with confused partners who “can’t find their place”. The luckiest ones seem to be the lesbians.
Compare them with their male counterparts. Most of the men are in serious relationships - and often, their loved ones have a stable but not-too-demanding job, enabling them to take care of the family. It’s a FACT.
So why would you join a club that rejects you?
Yes, tech entrepreneurship has been caught up in the patriarchal mentality, just like everything else. But that was just the preliminary phase of this industrial revolution.
Create your own path.
The world after covid wants to see what ambition can mean with kindness, inclusion, circularity, steady profitability. And there are tons of feminist men ready to build these kinds of ventures with you.
I’m not a role model and I hope that all the ventures being created now by women will make me feel as outdated as when I watched the DSK documentary. I’d love to learn from the new generations of female entrepreneurs and accompany their development at The Family. Our doors are open: apply.