On October 25th, the Tennessee screening tour of SHE STARTED IT kicked off in Memphis. Geeked Memphis organized the screening at Malco’s Studio on the Square. The SHE STARTED IT Impact Screening Tour strives to reveal the challenges faced by women-led companies while offering the viewers powerful examples of female entrepreneurship. The filmmakers, Nora Poggi and Insiyah Saeed, witnessed the rise of the young women in the entrepreneur field and believed more women (and men) needed to hear about that.
“Only 4 per cent of fortune 500 companies are run by women. In Silicon Valley, women earn only 49 cents to a man’s dollar and get less than 10% of all VC funding. According to a Babson College study, 96 percent of venture capitalists are men, and they control the majority of the money going into startups. The numbers are indeed changing, but not fast enough.”
From Vietnam and Paris to Mississippi and Vietnam, the film highlights the stories of Agathe Molinar, Stacey Ferreira, Brienne Ghafourifar and Thuy Truong through all of the ups and downs. Individually, they are all working on a variety of tech projects, from mobile apps to lingerie start-ups to selling billboard ad space. (You can read more detail on the women here.)
“For women to play such a minor role in an industry that has become so prevalent in our lives, it would seem we are losing out on a lot of potential.“
One factor of this troubling lack of women representation is the confidence gap. If you look closely, you can see many examples of how girls are programmed through their upbringing or schooling to not even consider taking a STEM path. In the film, Stacey, who had previously raised $1million in funding from notable investors including Sir Richard Branson, was continuously pressured by her family to return to law school.
“Today, being an entrepreneur is still associated with being a man,” says Poggi.
Thankfully, it is projects like this one that instill hope that this perception is changing. On a positive note, the audience also hears interviews with veteran experts in the field, as well as role models in the industry. The gender gap of women in tech has been recently publicized with the efforts of CompTIA’s #MakeTechHerStory campaign and the success of Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In. It is safe to add SHE STARTED IT to the list of arsenal of hope to share with young people who hope to overcome the obstacles and follow their dreams.