Chooks launched in May 2017 to a round of applause and with a room full of women and men eager to learn all about the gender investment gap - why it existed and what can be done about it. Since then over 2,000 people, 4% of whom are men, have joined the movement to address the gap. We have learnt together, supported one another's ventures, cheered each other one, encouraged one another to apply for competitions, funding, opportunities and generally leveraged off each other. Collaborations, job opportunities, moments of heart-to-heart fears and favours have been exposed. The impact has begun to be measured, and a podcast will be launched soon.
The data tells us that around 35% of people in the closed Facebook group engage with content every week - this outstrips Facebook's benchmarks for community engagement where the range seems to be 0.16 - 0.35%. In the 2018 Start Up Muster, Chooks was listed at 13th in Australia as the place to go for support and resources - not bad for a movement!
There is plenty of evidence that it is unconscious bias on the part of decision-makers who don't apply a gender lens, and not the behaviour of women, not being good enough to attract resource or investment. It is time to go into the lion's den and start making a ruckus (as Seth Godin would say), so disruption is now on the Chooks agenda.
We will continue to support and do all we can to get the kind of traction for female founders that is needed in and around the eco-system. We will continue to advocate for women to support women in all kinds of funding opportunities from SheEO to Pitch for Good, from advocating for more impact investing to equity crowdfunding and everything in between. And we will start talking and advocating directly with those who are doing the investing and ask them to look directly to what they can do to close the gender investment gap. To that end today I recorded a talk that I might give one day to a room full of male investors, potential venture capitalists, bankers, equity wealth management advisers. By way of a disclaimer, it is not financial advice. It is the kind of talk I would like to give if I had 3 minutes in a room of a 100 male investors to get them into the movement to close the gender investment gap.
I would love to know what you think and get your advice on if you think this is the kind of challenge that could get some traction.