3 Things Men Need to Stop Saying To Women Entrepreneurs

It’s no secret the female founders face an uphill battle in the boy’s club of Silicon Valley and VC funding. Two women entrepreneurs tackled the shit men have said to them with hilariously spot-on results.

3 Things Men Need to Stop Saying To Women Entrepreneurs
[Image: Flickr user AndYaDontStop]

Between the obstacles to getting funding and cringe-worthy titles like “mompreneur,” is it any wonder that some women founders are fed up with how their male peers treat them?


Founders of the technology and culture website Model View Culture Shanley Kane and Amelia Greenhall recently compiled a list of nine things they are sick of hearing from men in the startup world.

While the list, titled “Shit Men Say To Women Founders” could be dismissed as a rant, many of the points hit on universal issues that women in the startup world encounter. Here are a few of the worst things you could say:

1. “Good luck with your project.”

It’s not a project. It’s a corporation. It’s an official, tax-paying, certified, incorporated business that is employing people, producing new products, contributing to the economy, making money, and getting things done.

We’re working on it every day, all day, and every weekend. We quit our jobs to start it, put thousands of dollars into it, spent hundreds of hours filing paperwork to make it official. We code the app, keep the servers up, wear the pager. It is not a project.

2. “Are you going to apply for grants?” / “How can I donate to you?”

Turns out not every business run by a woman is a nonprofit or a charity, yet men in tech start the conversation by demanding to know how they can make a charitable donation to the cause.

Somehow, they never seem to ask about the business model first and sometimes have a hard time believing that women-run companies may be capitalistic, for-profit, or have a business plan that involves selling things to people in exchange for money.


Yes, many women run essential nonprofit and charitable organizations, but not all of us do.

3. “What’s your real job?”

Yes, many women start their companies on the side because quitting their other job or leaving other responsibilities to work on something full-time isn’t possible due to work, financial, family, and other commitments.

But the assumption is always that women’s startups aren’t their “real jobs,” but rather just side projects or hobbies. Even when a woman is getting her startup off the ground while working at another company, why isn’t she commended for “bootstrapping” rather than having her work minimized by constant suggestions that it isn’t “real”?

Are you a woman entrepreneur? What are some of the ridiculous things that have been said to you?

HT: Model View Culture

About the author

Kathleen Davis is a Senior Editor at, managing the leadership and work-life section. Previously, she has worked as an editor at, and Popular Photography magazine.