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International     Inspiring Women in Law

Only 2% of the world’s venture capital investment goes to women-led businesses  

Veronica Raffo, Partner at Ferrere (Uruguay) reflects on Cherie Blair’s words during the 2024 IBA Group Members’ Leadership Summit in London.

Verónica Raffo,  May 21, 2024

As many of you know, for years I have been participating in events focusing on developing women’s leadership as a way to step up inclusion and equity in organizations and in society as a whole. I also read a lot on these issues.

Data mostly comes as no surprise, but when I heard an extraordinary speaker like Cherie Blair CBE (Cherie Booth K.C.) say that only 2% of the world’s venture capital investment goes to women-led businesses, it blew me away. As she herself said, 2% is a margin of error, not a strategy.

The justifications for such a low number fall short. Are there unconscious biases in evaluating potential and risk? Are there internal barriers at play that keep women from selling themselves better?

What a sense of lost opportunities for everyone and a vision that limits economic and social impact!

In the private sector it is still key for us to sharpen good practices we all agree generate positive changes:
1) Mentorship programs: well structured, with trained mentors.

2) Network participation: ideally, associated with passions and/or knowhow. Also, some women-only, to talk about issues not so easy to discuss with men.

3) Visibility: it is useless to develop a career or a business idea if no one is aware of it. Particularly important to be able to show ourselves as role models.

4) Flexibility: a must today. The pandemic showed this is possible.

5) Bring in male champions: this is not just a women’s issue, it’s everybody’s issue. We need to bring in male leaders who advocate for the importance of equity within organizations.

6) Evaluation systems: ensure the model takes into account value creation in a broad sense, and that evaluators are trained on unconscious biases.

7) Personal attitude: stay authentic and true to yourself. Embrace differences. Dare to think differently and advocate for your ideas.

8) Avoid Backlash: be aware that certain men feel attacked. Be open to talking about their point of view and working together to see how these ideas build justice.
Cherie Blair’s final sentence is brilliant, and totally shared: true equality will only truly be achieved when "just good enough women have the same chance to succeed as just good enough men."

Learn more about Verónica Raffo

Cherie Blair CBE and Almudena Arpón de Mendíbil

From left to right: Sian Keall, Verónica Raffo, Myra Garrett, Annalisa Reale, Cecilia Mairal, Lise Lotte Hjerrild and Raquel Flórez
(IBA Group Members’ Leadership Summit 2024)

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