It’s time for a pep talk, ladies! Each year, the International Women’s Day on 8 March highlights the latest economic, political and social achievements made by women all around the world and kicks off a discussion of how to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women. 

In the startup ecosystem, the number of women is growing as more and more events and initiatives – such as Female Founders – emerge. Nevertheless, women still represent a minority in the field of entrepreneurship and investment. In Austria, only around 12% of all startup founders are women – the European average lies at 15%. Unsurprisingly, women are also underrepresented in the investors sphere. Our Angel Investing Report 2018 revealed: The typical Austrian investor is male and around 45-54 years old. Only 10% of our questionnaire responses involved women, showing that the Austrian angel investor scene still remains hugely male-dominated. It is about time to change that and encourage more women to become female founders and/or start investing in ventures. 

In honor of International Women’s Day, we have curated inspiring TED talks held by diverse women who found empowerment in their career and personal paths. They battled through highs and lows and have learned how to harness their power as women in the business world. Wherever you are right now in your life and career – these women offer valuable insights and words of advice that are relevant to the many challenges you might face in your private and business life. 

Take a few minutes to pause and absorb empowering stories from some pioneering ladies:  

Dana Kanze: The real reason female entrepreneurs get less funding

Venture-funded entrepreneurship remains largely a Y-chromosome game. Although female entrepreneurs own 39 percent of all businesses in the US, only two percent of them achieve venture funding. What’s causing this gap? Dana Kanze suggests that it might be the types of questions female founders get asked at a pitch. Her advice: “Learn how to spot the kinds of questions you’re being asked and how to respond more effectively”.


Sheryl Sandberg: Why we have too few women leaders

As the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg knows a thing or two about being a girl boss. In her impassioned talk, she questions why a smaller percentage of women than men reach the top of their profession, and why women are socially conditioned not negotiating for themselves in the workplace. Watch the video and find out three powerful pieces of advice.


Susan Colantuono: The career advice you probably didn’t get 

You’re doing everything right at work, taking all the right advice, but you’re just not moving up? Why? Susan Colantuono, CEO of “Leading Women” – a consulting firm supporting corporate initiatives to advance women and close the leadership gender gap – might have the answer. She shares a simple, surprising piece of advice you might not have heard before quite so plainly: It’s all about one skill set which is needed to succeed and climb the career ladder as a woman. 


Sarah Lewis: Embrace the near win 

In business, the journey is often better than achieving the goal because of what you learn along the way. At her first museum job, art historian Sarah Lewis noticed something important: Not every artwork was a total masterpiece. Learning to celebrate the process and consider the role of near failures are one of the most essential skills we need to develop for success. And along the way we have to acknowledge the little victories: Each win, no matter how small, brings us closer to our larger vision.


Kirsten Hall: Women in business, entirely unremarkable

In her talk, Kirsten Hall comes up with a provocative question: Is it time to stop celebrating women in business, just for being women in business? Maybe, she suggests, we can position women in business as the new normal. In her opinion, it is time for all employees to be judged on ability and not their sex. Kirsten Hall’s speech calls to shift focus to skills as an objective criteria while maintaining diversity.