How women can ‘get in on the ground floor’ in tech: Randi Zuckerberg

It is no secret that women are exposed to discrimination in male-dominated workplaces. That’s why they should start their own companies, says entrepreneur Randi Zuckerberg.

Zuckerberg, who is Meta CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg’s sister, previously worked as a marketing manager and spokesperson at Facebook. She currently hosts a weekly tech business show on SiriusXM and serves as CEO of Zuckerberg Media, a company that advises startups. In addition, she runs Hug, a Web3 company for artists and online creators.

During a recent appearance on Yahoo Finance, Zuckerberg encouraged women to become tech founders.

“You can either spend your time playing catchup in an already male-dominated part of the industry, or you can get in on the ground floor of some of the new things that are happening,” Zuckerberg said. “And there are so many exciting things with cyber security, space travel, blockchain, artificial intelligence. These are all opportunities for women to get in on the ground floor.”

Zuckerberg argued that inequality persists in the technological field despite some progress.

“We’re seeing more and more women founding sort of unicorn-level billion-dollar-plus startups, more women on the investment side,” Zuckerberg told Yahoo Finance. “That said, the numbers are still pretty grim, though.”

Randi Zuckerberg, former chief marketing officer of Facebook and founder of RtoZ Media, speaks at the Executive Marketing Summit, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Women make up just 28 percent of the tech sector, despite making up nearly half of the broader workforce, according to Zippia. Last year, women-founded US startups raised just 2.1% of the total capital invested in venture-backed startups in the US, according to Pitchbook.

Zuckerberg also noted that women are carrying a greater workload post-pandemic.

“Unfortunately, what we saw during the pandemic is that a lot of women stepped out of the workforce because we kind of went back to traditional roles in households where, when schools closed, a lot of women pulled double duty and left the workforce.” Zuckerberg said. “So we’re still playing a little bit of catch-up from that.”

During the pandemic, as telecommuting became more widespread, women struggled to balance their careers with their family lives. Mothers were 1.5 times more likely than fathers to spend an extra three or more hours a day on housework and childcare, according to a 2022 report from McKinsey.

Zuckerberg shared several insights on how women can advance in the tech sector.

Zuckerberg encouraged women to continue founding tech companies, arguing that such companies could bring more female workers into the tech industry. According to a report by Kauffman Fellows, an organization that hosts a training program for venture capitalists, startups with at least one female founder hire 2.5 times more women.

“So if 98% of the funding for the tech sector goes to men, then that’s going to perpetuate who continues to work for the tech sector. So I think it’s really important that more women found companies and that they get that funding , they need for these companies to succeed,” Zuckerberg said.

Zuckerberg also highlighted DeVry University’s Women in Tech Scholars program, which she said connects women with mentors and allows them to either begin or advance their tech careers.

“I think programs like this are absolutely critical to moving the needle and getting more women into the tech industry,” Zuckerberg said.

Zuckerberg also suggested that women monitor new tech companies for opportunities. She recommended women in particular to keep an eye on cryptocurrency and Web 3.0, a third iteration of the Internet based in part on blockchain technology.

In the midst of the current crypto winter and the recent fall in FTX, many experts see cryptocurrency as an uncertain venture. Crypto stocks also fell recently after Silvergate Capital announced its plan to shut down operations.

Therefore, investors are approaching Web 3.0 with increasing caution. In recent months, some venture capital firms have slowed investments in Web 3.0 companies, according to recent reports from Forkast, a publication that covers blockchain.

Still, Zuckerberg insisted that women should keep an eye on these fields.

“We desperately need more of us at the table, especially as many of these new technologies that are coming out have real societal and ethical questions that they raise and questions around how our children, how we all want to interact with technology. Zuckerberg said. “And if women don’t have a seat at the table right now, we don’t get a voice in what happens to them.”

Dylan Croll is a reporter and researcher at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @CrollonPatrol.

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