Sexual harassment: Survey reveals how widespread the problem is at startups

Sexual harassment scandals continue to rock the tech industry this year, leading to the resignations of prominent Silicon Valley investors and founders.

It’s a problem that’s widespread in startups nationwide, a survey released by venture capital firm First Round Capital shows.

More than 50 percent of 869 startup founders who took the survey have been sexually harassed or know someone who’s faced this problem in the workplace.

But the survey also revealed that female and male founders have different views about the scope of the problem and the top solutions.

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About 78 percent of female founders say they’ve had a personal experience with sexual harassment. The majority of women surveyed — about 70 percent — said the problem is underreported in the industry.

In comparison, about 48 percent of male founders say they’ve been sexually harassed or known someone who has deal with this issue. Only 35 percent of male founders feel like this problem is underreported. Men were four times more likely than women to say that the media is overblowing the scope of sexual harassment in the tech industry.

Female founders listed more female venture capitalists, pressure from limited partners and blacklists for investors and tech leaders as their top solutions. Male founders said startups should be looking at sensitivity training, more media coverage and more female venture capitalists.

The tech industry is still male-dominated. About 17 percent of the founders who took the survey were women. First Round Capital surveyed founders from the Bay Area, New York, Los Angeles and other parts of the United States.

Above: A screenshot from First Round Capital’s State of Startups survey. 


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