Recap: Fierce Founders in a Man’s World

On August 23rd, Blooming Founder’s Lu Li joined WOMENA founder Elissa Freiha, in a frank conversation about gender discrimination and sexual harassment in the tech world, and how female founders can keep safe and strong.

The impetus for the conversation was the recent rash of stories and lawsuits coming from female founders in Silicon Valley, which brought to light the detrimental effect the ‘bro-grammer’ culture has on female entrepreneurs.

Some of the tech founders and investors that have shared their experiences

How does the MENA region compare? 

During the webinar, statistics from WOMENA’s research showcased that MENA was actively making strong progress towards empowering its female entrepreneurs, outpacing the US and the EU on the percentage of funded companies with a female on the founding team. We also discussed how cultural differences in the MENA region in regards to male/female interactions, actually worked towards creating safer spaces for female entrepreneurs to seek funding.


The percentage of female founders between the US, EU & MENA. (Data gathered from inc.comTechCrunch, European Commission, StartupDNA, Arabnet. No data is available for female investors in MENA.)

Tips and Tricks

Elissa and Lu Li shared some practical solutions they have learned while raising and building companies as female founders:

  • Don’t be afraid to walk away. If an investor makes you feel uncomfortable during the fundraising process, taking his money will only be the beginning of your problems. Have enough confidence in yourself and your company to turn down funding that comes with any terms that make you uncomfortable.
  • Don’t be afraid to call out sexist behavior when you see it. When something makes you uncomfortable, call it out and clarify directly (and diplomatically) as to the what the person meant by that comment.
  • Use your advisors and mentors to help advise or accompany you to meetings if you feel you need some backup.

Watch the video recording below:

WOMENA plans to continue to develop programs and initiatives to support female entrepreneurs in the coming year. If you are a female entrepreneur and would like to stay updated on these upcoming programs, please register here.