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The State of Women In Tech and Startups 2023

Top Findings For 2023

Women Who Tech retained polling firm Lincoln Park Strategies to anonymously survey 930 tech employees, founders, and investors globally on their experiences in the tech sector.

Our goal with the 2023 survey was to identify what barriers and challenges people face in the tech and startup sector, and track whether the systemic sexism and racism that respondents’ experiences have shifted since our 2020 and 2017 surveys. 

This year’s survey paralleled the 2020 and 2017 surveys while introducing new questions around investors’ experiences with harassment since we're seeing more women in VC. We also incorporated questions about workplace culture dynamics since COVID-19 uprooted traditional offices, a critical topic as we think about the future of work.

In 2017, when we first launched the survey, we saw the #MeToo movement spur significant publicity, advocacy campaigns, lawsuits, and investments in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) trainings and pledges, but the survey results six years later in 2023 still clearly illustrate that barriers for women, especially women of color, continue to be upheld at unprecedented levels.

Special thanks to Craig Newmark Philanthropies and Rad Campaign for their support.

The survey was conducted between January 22 - February 26, 2023 via an anonymous online survey. 69% of respondents were women and 30% were men who worked in tech or were startup founders. 89 investors were surveyed.

Differentials from 2020 are indicated by parentheses with +/- to show changes in responses over time.

Experiences of Startup Founders in Tech  


Women founders continue to be discriminated and harassed at alarming rates.

  • 57% of women founders said they have been discriminated against in the last 12 months.
  • 51% of women founders of color say they been discriminated against.
  • 41% of women founders said they have been harassed (-3%).
  • 58% of LGBTQ founders say they have experienced harassment. (-7%).
  • 35% of women founders of color say they have experienced harassment (-12%). 
57% of women founders said they have been discriminated against in the last 12 months

50% of women founders who were harassed experienced sexual harassment.

When asked what kind of sexual harassment, 50% of women founders said they were propositioned for sex (-9%). In addition: 

  • 60% of women experienced unwanted physical contact (+1%).
  • 42% of women had sexual slurs directed at them (-14%).
  • 15% of women were groped (--17%).
Illustration of man touching a woman's back and offering her money. Speech bubble with exclamation points is coming from woman's mouth.

65% of women founders were told they would raise more money if they were a man, up 16% from 2020

And 70% of women reported differential treatment while raising funding, specifically because of their gender (+15%).

Illustration of one man handing another man money.

70% of women founders say they have been treated differently raising funding due to their gender, compared to 35% of men.

Illustration of man sitting on top of a wall with a ladder next to the wall, next to him is a woman standing next to a wall with a ladder that has no rungs.

43% of women investors say they have been harassed.

  • 40% of women investors who were harassed were sexually harassed.
  • 50% were groped.
  • 43% were sent sexual messages via email or text.
Illustration of man with a plus sign over his head and woman with a minus sign over her head. Between them is a bubble of arms holding signs that say "#MeToo"

What Do Investors Think?


Most investors said the lack of funding is NOT due to a VC pipeline problem.

36% of investors believe that the underfunding of women and underrepresented-led startups has more to do with the pipeline and lack of deal flow of these demographics.  

72% of investors said their firms are implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion practices to expand their portfolios to include more underrepresented founders (-10%).

Illustration of binder with images of men, and at the bottom it says "#BinderFullOfMen"

The majority of investors think access to funding is a big issue.

Only 28% of investors believe that as long as you have a good product idea with a solid business plan and some traction, the tech sector provides the same opportunities for funding regardless of who the founders are.

They said that lack of funding for underrepresented founders really isn’t an issue (-28%).

Illustration of all men sitting around a boardroom table.

Experiences of Employees Working in Tech


42% of women working in tech experienced harassment.

  • 52% of women in tech who experienced harassment said it was by another employee (-24%).
  • 37% said their harassment was perpetrated by a supervisor (-5%).
  • 35% said senior leadership harassed them (+10%).
42% of women founders who were harassed experienced sexual harassment.

30% of women in tech who said they were harassed were sexually harassed, down 13% from 2020.

  • 26% of women in tech who were sexually harassed were propositioned for sex (-9%).
  • 20% were propositioned for sex in exchange for a promotion (+2%).
Illustration of woman sitting at a desk on a computer, and a man standing next to her with his hand on her shoulder.

Women of color working in tech or at a startup continue to be harassed.

40% of women of color working for a tech company or startup said they were harassed at the company/startup.

Women of color founders were harassed more by investors than white women founders. Illustration of three women standing with their arms crossed.