In 2014, two PhDs discovered that women who launch technology-related crowdfunding projects are more successful than every other demographic and category, even fashion and publishing. This is surprising, as most efforts to ameliorate the effects of sexism aim to place more women in high-ranking positions. However, crowdfunding activism bolsters this mission.
In “Leaning In or Leaning On? Gender, Homopily, and Activism in Crowdfunding,” NYU Stern’s Jason Greenberg and Wharton’s Ethan Mollick studied Kickstarter data from about 1,200 projects. They found that all female technology campaigns received total funding at twice the rate of all male and mixed gender teams. Yes, you read that right, all female technology campaigns achieve their total funding goal twice as often as all male and mixed gender teams.
Greenberg and Mollick explain this success as due to a small group of activist women. They back these projects because they have faced discrimination in their lives, and recognize the value of economic support.
The natural tendency of individuals to associate with similar others is important to understanding why crowdfunding evens the playing field. This survey speaks volumes to the specific ways in which women step up and affect change so that others don’t have to face the same discrimination and barriers they did.
Although the study does not track the projects after they have been funded, the conclusion of the article is that crowdfunding works to counter biases. When women support each other by investing in each other’s dreams, it works.