Give a Sister a Break

Not a lot of things get me riled up these days. I don’t know if it is because I am older and have seen (and experienced) a lot over my 48 years but this weekend I was legitimately pissed. And it all started sitting in my car out front of my Taekwondo gym waiting for the instructor to arrive, so I could get my daily dose of kicking.

A friend of mine sent me a text encouraging me to read an article written by LiisBeth, a group that claims it is “the world’s only dedicated voice and advocacy organization for the entrepreneurial feminist movement”. I had time to kill so I launched the link and read the article. It was brutal. It was not focused on advocating for women. It was focused on crapping all over the first organization in the world that invests a lot (and I mean A LOT) of capital to advance tech companies with women in the C-suite.

The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) launched the world’s largest Women-in-Tech Venture Fund just under two years ago. And, the person who stepped into the arena to take on this fight is Michelle Scarborough. I cannot even imagine the amount of blood, sweat and tears Michelle and her team have shed to get this program off the ground while everyone else has been watching from the sidelines or merely lying dormant.  

And what does this LiisBeth group do? They decide to critique the one gladiator that has the courage to take on the first of what will be many, many fights. They start the article by saying “we are watching”. Yeah right. If they are really “watching”, they would not be watching her. They would be watching all the nay-sayers and silent ones wishing this feminist movement would just go away. They would be fighting alongside of her and helping her win. Instead they tell her to step aside and start over.  

So thanks LiisBeth for watching the one group trying to make a difference and not watching the hundreds of others that have no intention of ever changing. What you have shown us is that you are not a feminist and you certainly are not Lisbeth Salander, the character you aspire to be. You are just a mean “girl” who delights in being a bully from the bleachers hissing at the gladiator trying to change the world.

My call to those of us out there who have been fighting the real fight is to recognize that the really hard fights are just that. Hard. Mistakes will get made along the way. We will stumble and get marred because that is what needs to happen to make real progress. BDC, Michelle Scarborough and certainly not the female entrepreneurs they have backed need you to criticize them. For that, I give you a rating of “WTF”.   

The tech sector and private capital industry will never get out of the starting blocks and jump over the first, second and third hurdles of this race if we have “supposed” supporters on the side lines with trip wires watching and criticizing our every move. We need cheering, encouragement and hope.  

We need the women and men in this industry to rally behind one another so major change can happen. Not just to improve the gender mix but to build a more inclusive industry with people from all different orientations, backgrounds and ethnicity. You don’t do that by critiquing the ones that are trying to figure it out.

So LiisBeth and the other nay-sayers out there. Piss off. You aren’t badass. You are pathetic.

Author: Whitney Rockley, Founder & Managing Partner of McRock Capital