The women of Betabeat were inspired by Ellen Pao, the partner at VC firm Kleiner Perkins who announced last week that she's suing the company for sexual harassment and gender discrimination (Her allegations are truly gross: for example, one senior partner gave Pao a sexxxy Leonard Cohen book as a VDay gift and invited her out to dinner by telling her his wife would be out of town; when she declined, he gave her a shitty performance review) to survey 71 top venture capital firms to see where all the ladies were at.
To come up with a Female Equality Metric (FEM) for each firm (amazing new term, right?), the reporters counted the number of female partners and managing directors at every company. "For consistency, and to give firms the greatest benefit of the doubt, we counted anyone as a partner who had 'partner' in his or her title, including venture partners, founding partners, administrative partners and other variations," Betabeat explains. "We also included managing directors, who are senior partners. We did not include vice presidents, principals or associates."
A firm with all male partners would have a FEM of zero, while a firm with all female partners ("LOL, JK," as Betabeat quips) would be 100. Guess how the top firms fared? Not well: the best ratio was a paltry 32 percent. (Kleiner Perkins, which has been lauded for its number of female partners, clocked in at 5th place with 24 percent.)
However, there was one big whopping 100: "Also striking was the perfect 100 POFR, or percentage of female receptionists, at the VC firms we called," Betabeat wrote. "We have female administrative assistants," one woman who picked up the phone told them. She was not calling from the Mad Men set.
Click through their slideshow to check out how the top firms ranked, but try and stay away from their comments, or you'll come across some real gems, like this one:
"If you think gender diversity is important, a low FEM is bad and a high FEM is good."
As someone at Hacker News points out, a high FEM does not indicate gender diversity, it indicates an imbalance.
Maybe it indicates your writers, like so many women, can't do basic math which might be a very good reason that women self-exclude themselves from becoming VCs.
Perhaps it indicates you are members of the man hating women's club, and you truly believe that an FEM of more than 50, 60, or 70% is the cost of stopping your shrewing cries of victimization.
After we break through the financial world's glass ceiling, can we take a crack at the commenter community?
Image via Patrick Breig/Shutterstock.